Last Man Standing - False Starts and Broken Promises

Paul Cook 26/04/2007

Rating: 3/5

From the smoky, shadowed barroom jazz to the honky-tonk piano of a dusty saloon-bar, one of London's most promising talents release their debut album entitled False Starts and Broken Promises. Their own unique genre of murky, moody soul and nostalgic jazz rolls along at a gentle pace with the occasional hammering of the drums and power chords of the guitar to light up the British jazz scene for just that invigorative moment of awe.

Unsure or just unaware of their genre, Last Man Standing seem to jump back and forth and at times, this disjoints the album as a whole, opening with the sombre, orchestral 'Variation' and finishing with the finale of the happily strummed, aptly-named 'Theme for the Last Man Standing.' Everything in between is a mix & match of easy-listening indie-rock, saloon-style country & western or indie-tainted jazz.

Particularly endearing are the tracks 'Waiting So Long' and 'The Climb' which adopt a timeless, nostalgic tempo and sound that is reminiscent of bands like The Thrills and harking back to the softer Zeppelin classics. Lyrics and sound are influenced heavily by Bowie and Dylan, the soundscape continually changes.

The song-writing on the album, like the definition of its genre, is a tad hit or miss. Some songs are endearing to the last with deep and brooding vocals and lyrics that sound genuine and written with experience. 'The Dean Street Stumble' makes effective use of pantomime-pop piano and steel string guitars to accompany the raw, dry vocals similar to that of the White Stripes' own Jack White.

Overall “False Starts and Broken Promises,” is hard to instantly enjoy and due to its confusion of genres and despite featuring some wholly original and delicate tracks, its this mish mash styles that will makes it hard for it to stand out in a crowded market. It is hard to see why anyone would listen to Last Man Standing above most other talented new rock, indie and jazz acts in the UK. Having been concocted from several different genres and influences the album in a word is intriguing. However, after a few tracks little here will stand the test of time and unfortunately, although much of the material is new and what business-types might call 'out-of-the-box' much of it falls on an uninterested audience.