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Last Conservative
On To The Next One
Good Charamel Records

I listen to so much music sometimes that it is hard to keep everything in the proper chronological order, and I begin to judge things by it. Take Last Conservative for example, I popped them in and from note one I had them pegged as a Dashboard Confessional knock-off. I had this whole review in my head where I was going to make fun of corporate designed knock-off bands; there is nothing I hate worse than a band establishing a viable (read: sellable) sound, and every business shmoe jumping on the bandwagon to make a pretty penny at the expense of the bands they think they can fit in the designated mold. Now that I got that minor rant out, I can admit I was wrong about Last Conservative; it wasn't until I was doing some background research into the band that I realized that this band has been around twice as long as Dashboard, and therefore couldn't be drawing from that now popular well. At least in the other review I had, I gave them credit for being talented, so I am not totally abashed.

But nevertheless, it is hard not to compare the two bands side-by-side due to the many inherent similarities of style and substance. Both bands evoke true and raw emotion to satisfy that emo designation. Both have great songwriting and lyrics, both elicit awesome hooks and completely singable vocal lines. Also, both tend to get a little wimpy/whiney on certain tracks as they emote. But that is neither here nor there in the grand scheme of things, because both bands know how to put out a solid album covering a lot of ground without truly sounding the same. Dashboard Confessional will always have a certain place in my music collection because they were the first of the new-style emo that I really latched onto. But now right next to them I have to place Last Conservative, because pound for pound they can hold their own, if not exceed, Dashboard Confessional in sound.

I have to admit that I got my hopes high listening to the first track "On to the next one". When I heard this specific song I was floored because it was the exact amount of heavy for me without being obnoxious and maintaining a good level of pop. Finding that G-spot for me is a rarity, and I hoped it would continue, but alas, that was the heaviest song on the album. But maybe it was for the better that the album didn't follow this precursor, as every song varies in different degrees and kept me interested from track 1 to 13, a good solid album.

Production for the album was impeccable; the instruments are balanced nicely with clean breaks and succinct instrument lines. "Car Alarm", and "Irish" stick out for their use of the former, and then fill the sound out with interesting changes and builds. The songwriting is just good, and at places witty, as there is an almost tongue-in-cheek approach to the songs. "Mary", though, holds a special place for me on this album as it breaks down to simplicity and effectively uses subtle piano, strings and horns, while the vocals just bleed on the track. Not many albums can use strings without being cheesey and Last Conservative pulls it off beautifully.

This is just a damn good album, I don't know if I could say anything more.


Track listing:

1) On to the Next One
2) Can't Get Away From You
3) Over My Head
4) Fourfive
5) Anything But Goodbye
6) Hope and Pray
7) Car Alarm
8) Come Down
9) Keep Your Promises
10) Hey Hey
11) Irish
12) I Know You Know I Know

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