Burn The Summer

This Last Breath

Independent release, 2009

http://www.thislastbreath.com

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/15/2010

The Detroit-area quintet This Last Breath (Rob O’Brien [drums], Chris Walls [guitar], Edda Potestades [vocals], Chris Van Hoose [guitar], Andy Jamison [bass]) sound like they have been playing together for years. Jamison’s bass fits tightly into O’Brien’s patterns. Potestades’ vocal style is loosely structured, poetic at times, but always pleasing. Think of a Beat-era poet, where the words flow together and at the end of a stanza, you have to think.

 

This Last Breath’s pop music sensibility and their mastery of their material make this one of the best releases that I didn’t review in 2009. The manner in which this group bounces its way through catchy grooves as well as playfulness with their material is compelling. There was a lot of forethought into the assembly of the material here. When the release begins with what sounds like a coin inserted into a machine, you don’t really think that it would be significant. However, later, listening closely, the same sounds repeat as a pseudo introduction to remixes at the end of this release. This is something I have never heard before, and it neatly and concisely divides the material into halves. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

That said, I do not award gold stars just because a band adds remixes to the end of their release. The fact that Miranda Cosgrove did this on her EP is an example of when this strategy failed. However, when This Last Breath decided to do create remixes of their material, it was obviously meant to change the texture of the song.

 

The opening trio of “If You’re Not First, You’re Last,” “Burn The Summer,” and “Sad & Recent Events” lead into the first song I heard by the band, “Handgrenades,” and the initial reason why I thought this band would be worth listening to; I just didn’t know this disc would live in my CD player upon its arrival. The catch to this track is the opening guitar riff. It’s staccato and addictive. The song progresses with airy guitar chords over Potestades’ vocals before collapsing into a hand-clap section with a ferocious Jamison bass groove under the vocals. O’Brien’s drumbeat keeps the whole thing in check. “Sounds Like You Finally Found Yourself” comes next and is the best example of when Potestades is at her best.

 

As aforementioned, when you get to the second half of the track, some of the same songs are remixed into a techno-flavored style, while others get an acoustic treatment that strips the band to Potestades’ vocals and an acoustic guitar. It is quite the contrast in presenting the same lyrics in two equally compelling methods. You can easily associate the ‘non-‘rock’ or non-‘pop’ version you just listened to during the first part of the release with the remix version if you listen to the lyrics carefully.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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