Many bands in the past have been lauded for their ability to create that raw sound whilst maintaining a continuously powerful equilibrium between each respective instrument. Whilst this balancing act has almost been a unique selling point to the point of worldwide success for the likes of other 3 piece acts such as Nirvana or The Cribs, it could be said that Last Heart’s latest EP ‘Blood & Bones’ has somewhat missed that mark.
‘Blood & Bone’ opens with a menacingly ubiquitous bluesy riff that sneaks in and out of focus of the song, curtailing over and under Thomas Benson’s whiny and sneering vocals which invoke a compelling inclination to hear what he has to say. Sadly, these auditory obligations end here, with the body of the song failing to make any real sustained developments, remaining at a relatively plateaued state. With what is a genuinely intriguing display of guitar playing from Benson coupled with Dan Levey’s sprinkling of driving drum fills, ‘Blood & Bone’ is screaming out for a moment of real conviction to give it that extra push into a genuine example of impressive heavy blues track – be it from a spontaneous stomp of a tube screamer pedal, or perhaps from a clockwise twist of the bass amp volume knob; Mick Flaherty’s bass is almost inaudible throughout the whole EP.
‘Say Please’ follows a similar pattern to its neighbour, with its promising, guitar dominated beginning, and a middle section consisting of a tossing of attention between Benson’s slide guitar and his throaty and, at times, unnerving vocals. Such a line as “you only love the way I make you come” will always be difficult to deliver when you’re not Bon Scott, but top marks to Benson for offering such an enlightening insight into his endeavours between the sheets. On a more serious note, it is Benson’s endeavours between the frets that makes ‘Say Please’ worth listening to, his slide guitar playing is extremely effective in creating a bluesy groove, complimented by Levey’s driving drums. Frustratingly, however, the lack of any noticeable bass again limits the track in what it can achieve, resulting in it failing to really live up to what is promised at its origin.
Track number 3, ‘6.50’ touches upon the serious subject of gambling addiction and boasts suitably grungy instrumentation, with effectively repetitive guitars and a riding drum beat that subtly reminds us of the trio’s strong blues influence. Benson’s voice here asserts a typically Liverpudlian tone, drawing comparisons to the La’s as well as Miles Kane’s melodic whines, but is let down by lyrics that often seem irrelevant and out of place, portraying the band as either trying too hard or not trying hard enough. The line “I’m gonna go around to my house and have myself a little smoke” sounds like something created by a generic rock lyric generator and feels like a waste of a line in what could have been, considering the chosen topic, an extremely powerful amalgamation of the rock aesthetic with current affairs and issues. Sadly, an opportunity missed.
Missed opportunities are the order of the day for Last Heart on their forthcoming EP ‘Blood & Bone’. With each track showing great initial potential, boasting interesting techniques and concepts, it is frustrating to then find oneself falling away from engagement as each song fails to progress satisfyingly. The inclusion of Frank Hedges’ backing vocals on the alternative version of the title track suggests a level of intent with this respect, though not enough to allow one to conclude that this EP is the finished article.