The Last Battle – Heart of the Land, Soul of the Sea

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Exactly a year on from their first appearance, they played the final gig at Avalanche on Cockburn Street to mark the release. The album opens with the lonely strum of a mandolin; however as frontman Scott Longmuir’s vocals enter along with piano and eventually glock it is obvious that herein lies much more of a layered effort. The Last Battle are strong in numbers, with six full-time members and occasionally featuring Neil Pennycook (Meursault) and Bart Owl (Eagleowl) and this becomes apparent from track 2, the lead single ‘Ruins’ and onwards. The spine tingling slide guitar part builds through the verse, only making way for a rousing chorus which is the first example of the harmonies between Scott and backing vocalist Arwen Duncan, it is this which gives the band its characteristic sound. Track 3 ‘Lifejackets’ is another infectious pop-folk song and on first listen to the album you’d be forgiven for thinking they may have left little for the latter half. However, ‘Cutlass’ and ‘Any Ocean’ ensure that this album does not fizzle out.  Personal favourite ‘Whisky!!!’ brings together the recurring theme of being lost and laid to rest at sea with strong imagery of their hometown.  Coming in at just over half an hour it’s on the short side for a full length but what it lacks in quantity it more than makes up for in quality. This album is undoubtedly one of my favourites of this year and should establish The Last Battle as one of Edinburgh’s most important acts, alongside Meursault and Broken Records.

 The Last Battle
 17 Seconds Records

Released 04/10/2010

 Brian Pokora

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