Review: The Late Great Shines on Debut Album ‘Easy’

thelategreat

The Late Great is a solid four-piece group with a strong orientation in both rock and folk music. Each member of the band carries their own weight on their newest LP, Easy, with each member playing an array of instruments. This all collectively adds to the complexity and colors represented within their compositions. On the album, the group emulates the style of solo singer-songwriter acts, yet incorporates much more through complementary instrumentation and sonic textures that distinguish them from the typical singer-songwriter type.

The Late Great’s new LP kicks off strong with the catchy and melodic song “Die.” It seems as if it’s simply a jolly and blissful track at first, until you dive a little deeper into the lyrics. With lines like “I said I’d never be the one to love you; I’ve never been so faithful; What’s the hope in giving it all I’ve got,” things start to get a little bit bleaker. However, the juxtaposition of the sweet and catchy melody of the song and the pessimism of the lyrics come together to create a lovely song tinted with an underlying tone of pensiveness.

Following the strong album opener, the band wastes no time diving into the electric title track, “Easy.” As the title track of the album, it’s only fair to have high expectations for this song. The song breaks out into a driving and energetic melody that will definitely have listeners jamming along. It’s exciting, its sounds full, and it’s authentic. This track has a lot going for it and is definitely worthy of the album title track position. It’s a crowd-pleaser that will get the audiences going, for sure.

Following the previous energetic tracks, the album begins to transition to softer and melodic compositions, such as the next song, “For Your Love,” which is an easygoing ballad accompanied by a soothing, sing-along chorus and a complimentary counter-melody on the guitar that is reminiscent to Dinosaur Jr’s “Feel The Pain.” “Paramour” breaks off into what seems like the band’s take on the style of 60’s surf-rock, or something like that of The Shadows. However, the band is successful in utilizing the style to create an original and modern piece, rather than trying to revitalize the genre. The chorus is comprised of another sweet and catchy hook, along with a syncopated drumbeat. It’s another strong track that was well-arranged and well-delivered.

The middle of the album further sheds light on the band’s softer side. Tracks such as “Shape Of The Sea” and “On My Mind” slowly suck you into essence of each song, making it hard to skip them. The pictures the band paints within these songs are beautiful, organic and even impressionable.

They crank up the dial on “Butterflies” and make way for the dirty, fuzzed-out guitar riff that gives the song its teeth. Through the pumping verses and axe-shredding, this track presents an enjoyable and engaging ride. “House of Fire” is another slower track on the album that’s more lighthearted and charming. We dive deeper on the next song “An Ocean,” a track that instantly soaks you with the intimate and melancholic spirit of the track. The droning guitar that mocks a far-off strings section glazes the whole track with the emotion oozing from the band collectively. Sarah Lane recites the heartbroken line, “I never asked for it, I never lied.” It’s interesting to think of what exactly she means by this, however, in context with the music and arrangements, it’s apparent it’s pretty personal.

The album resolves on the more positive and cheery ballad that is “The Farmer.” It is quite a fitting for an album closer, and does its best in this role here than elsewhere on one’s journey through the album. Like the first track, the lyrics contradict the initial “feel” of the vibe of the track. With phrases such as “I’ll take you to the slaughter, wont you take my hand…” and “I’ll hide you from the past, and just wont give in,” it seems once again that Sarah is deviating from the positive vibe of the track. It’s an interesting way to write a song, and leaves us perplexed as to what’s to come next from the band in future.

Easy is all-around a well-composed album with a smooth transition throughout all of the songs introduced. The band excels in writing catchy, sing-along songs, with an even balance of energetic and relaxed tracks. Vocalist Sarah Lane’s vocals are a nice fit for the band’s sonic compositions, and though some might see her vocal range as a bit limited, she sounds completely natural over the varied styles of music presented. It works well with what they do, so it may be subject to change. The album is a conglomeration of nuanced production, and strong compositions, all graced by a lack of pretension. An exciting masterpiece with an exciting future in store for the band.

(You can purchase Easy digitally through iTunes and Amazon. Stream the title track below via SoundCloud.)

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