By DJ Liger, DJ Smiley and Papa Lory
Punk rock burst onto the music scene in the mid-seventies like a bull running through a china shop. Disco and Top 40 were the well-polished, corporate-pablum musical styles of the day. Punk rock grabbed those well-polished styles by the throat, threw them to the ground and sneered in rebellion.
Great Britain provided America with punk bands such as The Sex Pistols and The Clash. However, America was already building her own thriving punk scene.
As New York’s Ramones developed a cult following on the East coast, one of the most influential bands to come out of California emerged. The Last fused garage rock, surf music, folk rock and a touch of the psychedelic music of the 1960s and made their mark in punk rock history.
Seventeen years after their last release, Gin and Innuendos, The Last returns with a new lineup and a new album, Danger. Original members Joe and Mike Nolte are joined by The Descendents rhythm section Karl Alvarez and Bill Stevenson on bass and drums, respectively.
DJ Liger: The Last’s new album Danger is not necessarily my favorite album in the world; however, it is not terrible.
It struggled to keep my attention towards the end, yet in the middle of the album, it threw curve ball after curve ball my direction. The album started with the stereotypical punk-rock repetitiveness and sound, but after a few songs, changed direction and had elements from metal to calm ballad in a variety of songs.
Their songs have a nice variety that was not expected after the first few songs and, overall, the album is one that could appeal to a wide range of audiences.
DJ Smiley: The Last’s new album, Danger, is a classic example of what punk rock music is. Tracks like “I Know,” “I’m not Crazy” and “Red Hair” provide all the punk rock attributes: fast guitars, a driving bass and quick vocal styles.
However, what makes this album unique is how the band throws in some mini-surprises on certain songs. There are slower songs such as “I Don’t Know what to Say”. Others sound more like pop songs with more polished production. There’s even a slight turn toward what could be heavy metal with the title track, “Danger.”
The surprises that The Last delivers on this album, moving freely between punk rock pop music and the heavy metal sound, shows their versatility. This is an album that stands out as distinctive and a bit different, but is not one that should be crossed off the list for your future music collection.
Papa Lory: As the one here that remembers the original punk rock movement of the ‘70s, I was excited to see a new release by The Last.
While it is probably not as strong as their debut release back in 1979, the guys still show they have the chops to lay down some rock and roll.
The driving guitar and drums often took me back to the 1970s sound that was punk rock music. It was rebellion at its finest, and at times, at its worst. While this collection of songs isn’t necessarily total rebellion, that feeling is still evident in some of the lyrics and musicianship.
The opening tracks of “I Know” and “Red Hair” are prototypical punk fair and made me want more of the same. A few of the songs played more “pop” than punk to me. Others reminded me of later offerings from ‘80s bands like The Cure and Billy Idol, which is more a testament to the early pioneers of this musical genre rather than a bad thing.
Overall, this is a solid album from a band that has influenced more musicians then can be mentioned in this limited space. It is definitely worth a listen.