WL//WH Review: LAST TOURIST “Self-Titled” Debut Album


Very often are the little details, nostalgic suggestions dear to yourself that attract towards a band or an artist; sometimes just a black and white picture is more than enough, soaked in full-blooded British football from the 70s/80s, one of my main three reasons for life as a teenager, together with girls and music, followed somehow through scattered weekly highlights on some willing private TV channel and the weekly visit to a newsagent where you consistently bought a week late copy of Match magazine, occasionally even with the always exciting stickers, paired with the ever-present NME.

To complete the picture, Last Tourist hails from Leeds, a land of a legendary and intriguing team like ’60s/’70s Don Revie’s bad boys, as I detest political correctness, in addition to timeless raw punk bands like Mekons, Gang of Four, Delta 5, and Au Pairs, all essential parts of my musical heritage.

Certainly do not look like Don Revie’s thugs, the British Shoegaze group, LAST TOURIST, made up of John Wellby (guitar, vocals, programming), Adam Simpson (synths, programming, backing vocals), Jason Booth (bass guitar, bass synth), and Nick Noble (guitar and vocals), which finally, around two years from that infamous first single, have dropped the highly-anticipated debut Self-Titled album, through their own-label 1991recordings, mixed and produced by John Wellby himself and mastered by Andrew Rose, with the spicy addition of  Krissy Vanderwoude (Whimsical & The Churchhill Garden ) on backing vocals as well as Simon Scott (Slowdive, Lowgold and The Charlottes) on drums and backing vocals.

The 10 tracks spread wholeheartedly across a wide spectrum of subtly sound nuances, ranging from the band’s unmistakable foundations of the fuzzed-up pop of Jesus and Mary Chain and noisy/washed-up realms of Shoegaze forbears such as My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Slowdive and Lush, to mesmerizing mystical glimpses of Spiritualized, Spacemen 3, early Verve ecstatic daze, reverberated nostalgia of DIIV and Suicide sentimentality, through an immersive and renewed reinvigoration of the giddy blend of contemplative star-struck magic, flowing vibrant melancholic urgency, and fluid misty melodicism intrinsically embedded in most of our favorite guitar bands of that era.

Lyric-wise, gothic romantic poetry explores love, lust, and loss through a lens of innocence, obsession, and deception to invoke a moody headspace of cathartic blues.

Ride-tinged blinding widescreen horizons surfing on the sunlight refractions of “Riding Seas”, to carry on seamlessly at a more frenzied and energetic pace of “Public Service” riding with alienated and anxious soaring urgency, fading in the Suicide’s “Cheerie” bent, eerie majestic lullaby “Cave In The Hills”, shrouded in Spiritualized enraptured mystique, to dip into the seductive voluptuous fuzzy haze blended with somber introspective perspectives, steeped in JAMC darkly ecstatic vibes of “Black Raven, possibly the most addictive of the whole, whilst mesmerizing suggestions of Slowdive e MBV occur hither and tither, overall in “Lemon Twist” and “Lust”, to end with hypnotic soul-stirring haunting mysticism of “Spiritual cove” and contemplative moods of emerging discerning inner calm from the instrumental “Slow Moving Traffic.” 

We are plunged in a heady vortex of sparkling blankets of echoes and reverberations that combine and stratify, to embrace the veneer of warm emotional fluid spirals and nebulas, cascading amid background distortions and gauzy melodic bitter-sweetnesses, flooded by lush juxtapositions of blinding light, silver lining, and murky shadows, whilst muted, ghostly vocal energies float and at times harmonize with intense angst and distant fear throughout, nurtured by beguiling lithe warm basslines, and erratic drumming, coated by translucent swelling keyboard washes, to lend comfort and insight from beyond the blurry veil of striking broad visions.

If a while ago I would have certainly somehow objected to the lack of abrasiveness, it will be over the years that we become more reflective, but the cathartic emotional abandonment and the ravished mesmeric state away from the worries of everyday life for just under 40 minutes, into an enveloping and bewitching fluttery sonic universe, gleaming and bubbled at the same time, is absolutely worthy of your time.

Last Tourist‘s Self-Titled debut LP is available via the band’s Bandcamp on limited colored Vinyl 12″ Edition with two options: on pink marble, or, otherwise, on orange with red and yellow marble.

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