THE LAST DANCE
There is a band emerged in Southern California whose name was burnt into the memories of those who were initiated in the worship of Gothic Rock over two decades ago. I refer, of course, to The Last Dance, to whom we owe some of the most far-reaching melodies that have broken onto the dark realm during the 1990s. Evergreens such as "Do You Believe In Angels?" or "Fairytales", among many others, are good evidence of this. Almost nine years after their last full-length release, The Last Dance are back with their sixth album, entitled "Ruins", which preserves and even enhances what has made them influential in the past. Furthermore, they have not hesitated to venture along new experimental directions during the songwriting process, resulting in a slightly revamped sound which nevertheless stays true to their trade mark. "Watch me now / watch me, closely as I whisper / and take you deeper and / deeper into your dream / into your dreams...". Thus the journey begins, with the male/female duet singing these lines in an hypnotically cadenced manner. Together with the metallic bass tones, ominous synths and chiming guitars, it all creates a gorgeous, oriental-tinged feeling of transcendence that fully lives up the title of the album opener: "Mesmerize". "... / All of this is real / ...". This verse marks the transition to the second stage of the song, still dreamy but more explosive, driven by an ardent, melodic burst of from the guitars and keyboards, being the whole thing topped with memorable refrains. And it's only just beginning. All the songs included in this record can be counted as winners, in my opinion, each of them within its own style frame. Thus, you can find anthems of high dusty content such as "Thoughtless", whose soaring, sinuous riffs and passionate, clean/growly vocal interplay, will take you into an emotionally intense ride; certified Gothic Rock hymns like "Katsong", featuring hooky drums that rocket the pace with tribal dexterity, in partnership with rumbling pinches on bass, guitars churning out wistful chords both eerie and saw-like, and Jeff crooning his sorrow when the track shifts down a gear; hybrids of slamming electronics and yearning, massive string solos, as it's the case of "Missing" and "Cages"; refined Darkwave crafts like "Edge Of The World", supported by steady, dance-inflected sequences, fairly guitar driven though, and fused with soulful female vocals and fiddles setting an alluring contrast; widescreen, muddy mid-tempos to fly down the highway such as "Medicine", floating in some The Cult’s suspension spirituality, propelled by rolling, echo-drenched bass thrums and unfussy, yet propulsive drums, with the gritty roars and squeals of guitar providing a serious lift off... and so on until to the last song numbered in "Ruins". Thirteen well-told stories of pleasure and pain that give chills even a long while after the sound is off, written by a band that continues thriving truly in their primal selves.
Review by Billyphobia