Album Reviews

Last Days Of April – If You Lose It

(Imperial) UK release date: 23 February 2004

Last Days Of April - If You Lose It Much praised for their earlier offerings, Angel Youth and Ascend To The Stars, Stockholm-based four-piece Last Days Of April‘s latest offering represents something of a backward step. Gone are the rich arrangements and emotional diversity of the earlier recordings in favour of simpler, less interesting arrangements and a flatness of mood, with each song running seamlessly into the next, resulting in a kind of musical mush. It’s strange that Last Days Of April were once considered one of the leading “emo” bands – it’s hard to imagine a more detached, cold and neutral album than this one. Emotional it certainly isn’t.

While songs such as If You and forthcoming single It’s On Everything have an endearing, infantilistic quality, thanks to some simple, straightforward melodies and Karl Larsson’s tranquillised, narcoleptic vocals, there’s little else here to hold the attention. Tears On Hold, Me The Plague and Want To Go are but three tracks that drift aimlessly by, while Been Here All Time and Want to Go barely register at all.

One thing is abundantly clear, however: these boys have been listening to their Smiths, Durutti Column and Joy Division records, for the arrangements bear all the hallmarks of the ’80s Manchester bands (high end bass, chiming guitars, chugging 4/4 rhythm guitars), giving this record a strangely nostalgic quality.

This stylistic metamorphosis, from the punk influences of the band’s early years to the shoegazing self-absorption of what used to be called indie-rock, can best be described as retrogressive. Part of the reason for this switch may be that Hives producer Pelle Gunnerfeldt, who recorded, mixed and produced the band’s highly acclaimed previous two albums, took more of a back-seat role this time round, sharing production responsibilities with Mathias Olden from the Bad Taste band Logh.

Only on Do For Two does the album take off, albeit temporarily, with an up-tempo slice of power pop that would surely make for a radio-friendly single. Closing track Fast, So Fast also has much to recommend it, and provides a suitably elegiac finish to the album.

Apart from these rare moments of inspiration, however, this album most go down as a major disappointment, especially following the musical advances of the last couple of years.

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