Here it is, another slice of 21st Century Mod Rock that’s as tight as Darron J. Connet’s trousers and as sharp as his hair! Its been over a year since The “Toubs” released the fantastic Sooner The Better EP (also reviewed on this blog) and they’ve certainly been busy since performing the length and breadth of the country and writing this latest offering. A VERY successful launch party at The Birds Nest in Deptford with a supporting cast that included a stripped down version DFH favourites The Broxton Hundred, Stone Thieves, Darling Boy and The Repeat Offenders. Undoubtedly The Last Of The Troubadours stole the show featuring debuts for bassist Daniel Smith (replacing Rob Pyne who has transferred to The Rifles with the best wishes of TLOTT) and guitarist Tony Marshall who brought his own private fan army with him, to say the place was rocking would be an understatement. The mission of the day was to get my grubby mitts on the new ep, which thankfully I remembered to do after 8 hours on the pop!
Kicking off, Tonight comes at you like a train, literally, shades of, arguably, The Jam’s finest moment with some ethereal strings that lull you in gently until POW! The percussion kicks in, the guitars go into overload and DJC’s unmistakable sneer fills your ears. As usual the shared vocal between Darron and Joel Rogers works supremely well, a growl and a sneer in perfect harmony. It thunders along, a proper rock n’ roll record with a killer chorus it feels like you kind of need the break at the end before the message that something’s got to change is battered into your brain.
If the opening of Tonight was The Jam, then the intro to Never Forgive You is pure Style Council, chopped funk guitar with a relentless Northern Soul beat that continues throughout the song. The musicianship is tighter than a gnats chuff, changing pace, stopping and re-starting with timing as inch perfect as the turn up on a pair of Levi’s. With Steve Diggle (of The Buzzcocks) adding a rather bloody good guitar solo (and a few Wow’s) this is a track of great scope and I’m sure was a hot contender for the lead song on the ep.
Title Track Don’t Stand On Shadows is another relentless barrage of clipped chords reverberating from Joel’s guitar, there’s definitely a change to the sound of this group since the last ep, a more crunchy, punchy sound with more than a liberal sprinkling of funk chops. Again the shared vocal works a treat, Darron and Joels voices are completely different but completely complimentary at the same time. I love the piano in this song, the single repeating chord reminds me of The Who’s 5:15, and that’s never a bad thing!
Shame On You starts off sounding like Editors’ Bricks & Mortar, a gentle electro beat before another huge chord blows your eardrums. A slower track that shows a different side to Joels normally gruff vocals. The electro feel winds it’s way in and out of the record throughout adding an almost psychedelic aspect to parts of the song. Not to the chorus though, it’s pure glam and immediately memorable! The stripped down bass and drum break is clean, neat, perfectly placed and perfectly paced.
Now, bear with me here, One To Blame has shades of The Foo Fighters in its intro, just Joel’s voice, a slightly distorted guitar playing jangly chords and some winsome lyrics, but when the rest of the band join, it turns into a wholesome sounding summer sunshine of a song. It’s bright and airy, and completely at odds with the heavy lyric subject! A great closer that certainly left me wanting more!
What next for The Last Of The Troubadours, well tonight (Friday 17th May) they play the Cool Britannia club night at The Fiddlers Elbow in Camden, their last London date for a while, after that it’s on to play with The Stone Roses, Miles Kane and Paul Weller at the Isle Of Wight Festival, where I’m sure they’ll win over a whole new group of fans. With plans for a tour of the North and the South coast and a few songs “in the cannon” for their debut full length album, these are exciting times for The Last Of The Troubadours, and if you’re not going to be part of it, then shame on you!
Don’t Stand On Shadows is available from iTunes and via The Last Of The Troubadours Facebook page.