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6 out of 10
Sussex boys Last Letter Read are clearly jokers. I can tell that from their latest EP These Stories Roll. They have pulled a classic gag out of the bag. What they've amusingly done is, started their EP with an utterly shit song to surprise people, and then followed it up with 3 of real quality, just to keep people on their toes.
There I was listening and making notes, and throughout opener Penniless But Grand all I had written was:
Oh god not shit like this AGAIN. Why do bands insist on writing this rubbish?
Wow, you thought up a bit of a pun, let's make an entire song about it, that's bound to work.
'Hey, maybe if I sing entirely out of my nose that will make people enjoy it more? Oh guys, let's turn the distortion down a bit, we're not trying to be as heavy as McFly, let's not go crazy'
And I was all geared up to write a witty and scathing review about just how very bad the EP would inevitably be, but then something happened. I decided to form my opinion of the EP on more than just the first track. A crazy idea I know, but I thought: 'what the hell?'
So needless to say I was in for a bit of a shock when I first listened through the rest of the EP. - because it's pretty good.
Remember when All Time Low released an album that was good, the one before the abominable shit-fest that is currently, and bafflingly, propelling them into the hearts and ears of countless 15 year old girls. Well imagine, like I do, that All Time Low stopped making music after So Wrong, It's Right, Last Letter Read have decided to take on their mantle and fly the flag for the pop side of pop-punk.
Suddenly the singer's voice doesn't make me want to punch him in the face, the lyrics improve dramatically, the songs have a bit more depth (check out the solo on Your Year, goddamnit I'm a sucker for pinch harmonics) and it's good. Like, pretty impressively good.
For instance, Escape is basically the song Cartel have been dying to write since Chroma. I don't understand how the transformation occurred, but Last Letter Read went from being utterly terrible on 'the song that shall not be named' to pretty good on Your Year to pretty much blowing me away on Escape. These two songs really demonstrate how long Last Letter Read have been honing their craft, it is clear they have decided what they want to do, and they are just going to keep doing it, and why not if you clearly have a knack for it.
The last song on the EP, Miles Away doesn't scale the heights of the previous two tracks, but it also isn't as terrible as the album opener, in fact far from it. However, the case remains that Last Letter Read have produced a four song EP with two great songs, one good song and a festering piece of turd (sorry I'm labouring the point, but it is really, really bad), and this inconsistency is frustrating. But, when they are good, these boys are very, very good.
1. Penniless But Grand
2. Your Year
4. Miles Away