Last Winter

The Heart And The Broken Compass

Written by: TL on 16/08/2011 23:54:19

When last I heard of Florida five-piece Last Winter, it was because I was tasked with reviewing their debut LP "Under The Silver Of Machines", and if the fact that it has taken them five years to arrive at follow-up "The Heart And The Broken Compass" doesn't tell you how little buzz they got from that album, then the fact that I had all but forgotten their existence until now, probably should.

This is likely something the band is hoping to remedy with the ten new tracks on this album, yet they hit a hurdle right of the bat in not having changed noticeably over the years. Now just as then, Last Winter's sound is one of middle-of-the-road rock, smooth of rather void of character, which seems to draw on inspiration from bands that were prominent around the turn of the millenium.

Things essentially boil down to bright, radio-friendly riffage, mid-paced songs of traditional structure, classic soloing and vocals melodramatic enough to surely make some cringe. The end product compares easily to both the likes of Hoobastank and TRUSTcompany, as it does to slightly 'newer' stuff like Story Of The Year's "Page Avenue" (see "Yellowbelly", the hardest song on the record), the harder Quietdrive songs, or maybe just simply Madina Lake.

The good news is that while Last Winter have hardly reinvented themselves, they've vastly improved as songwriters, and while I'd be hard pressed to call other songs than "Neptune", "More Than You Know" and "Where We're Going, We Won't Need Roads" flat-out memorable, almost every song on "The Heart And The Broken Compass" is easy to get into and easy to recognize on subsequent listens.

This important quality pretty much saves the record from being a bust, seeing as it means that it can certainly command appeal among the more casual rock fans, the kind of which are possibly more interested in easy choruses than in exploring the nuances of the genre. And this is good, because "The Heart And The Broken Compass" sounds like music made with heart and good intentions, so it doesn't deserve utter oblivion. Nor does it deserve much critical acclaim however, for this there's simply too little edge and originality in play here. Overall, this is not a record you'll dislike, it's just one you'll be quick to forget.

Download: Neptune; More Than You Know; Where We're Going, We Don't Need Roads
For The Fans Of: Quietdrive, TRUSTcompany, Madina Lake
Listen: myspace.com/lastwinter

Release Date 25.07.2011
Lifeforce Records

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