Any Crazy Horse or Grateful Dead enthusiasts should definitely check this record out, as it’s obvious that Ranaldo is one himself.
Many who caught Lee Ranaldo and his band The Dust playing in support of his previous album Between The Times And The Tides were surprised by the power the band had live, as it wasn’t captured on the album. That power is on full display on Last Night On Earth. The only problem this time is that Ranaldo forgot to supply the songs.
Ranaldo still has the same problem with his lyrics that he had on Between The Times, and now he’s decided his songs don’t need a melody. Each song features the same speak-singing style, with no hooks to distinguish them.
When Ranaldo stops singing, the band creates the type of jam that makes all lyrical cheese acceptable. Unfortunately, most of the time the jams are squandered by Ranaldo’s vocals, when you just want him to be quiet for a little while. He lets the jams breathe on only three songs.
‘Key/Hole’ has a great start-stop rhythm, and from its feedbacking intro to the snare rolls at the end, it’s arranged perfectly. ‘The Rising Tide’ is a tense, slow build that explodes into visceral noise explorations at unexpected points, and has the only catchy chorus on the entire album. Finally, album closer ‘Blackt Out’ allows the band to go on the extended jam it’s been threatening to do all album, and it is glorious. All 11 minutes of it.
Those three tracks add up to 27 minutes of quality guitar worship. If that’s not your thing, the other six songs aren’t quite strong enough to be worth your time.
BY LEONARDO SILVESTRINI
Last Night On Earth is out now through Matador/Remote Control