If there’s something that always has characterised the sound of Last Harbour is a very downbeat mood that oozes from the walls long after the music has stopped. Like a Mervyn Peake novel, grey skies, creaking floorboards, cold autumn horizons and quiet lakes are the images flowing when their music flows from the speakers, with this aura of dread always firmly punctuated by lead singer’s Kev Craig smooth, understated delivery.
The new release, Your heart, it carries the sound continues the band’s tradition of keeping a core approach to music (dark, droning and stylish) while changing the form of delivery, i.e., the song’s rhythm. Whereas Dead Fires & the Lonely Spark bordered into rapturous slocore and Volo was a marvelous dance macabre tackling different styles, this new gem has a slower, almost sparse approach. Not minimalistic, though, but you can sense it’s been recorded in a vast space (in this case, St. Margaret‘s church), giving it an extra serving of solemnity.
There are no big, thundering moments. If we were going to compare this album to a human emotion, it would be like a quiet break up. No big fights, no shouting matches, just two lonesome souls calmly accepting their condition as star-crossed lovers and going their separate ways. You can feel that melancholy and sadness through all 11 tracks, so if you were looking for something cheery, you might want to steer away from this one.
But if what you want is to indulge into those grey feelings, this is a well-prepared meal. From the first notes of ‘Your heart, it carries the sound’ until the last moments (a fuzzy, sampled conversation in ‘This is how we disappeared’), the album is made up from eleven chapters of a sadness that does not indulge in wallowing, but it relishes (and acknowledges) that there are valleys to life’s hills and you might as well accept this fact and make some music about it.
Now, there’s one very good track here (they all are good, but this one whoops ass) and it’s the damning ‘If you mean to be lost’, which also easily is the angriest moment of the album. As mentioned before, there is no big crash or explosion, but the heavy atmospheres and the vocal delivery pretty much convey those feelings of despair and frustration. Really love the guitar tone in this one: full of longing, like watching a thousand dreams crash to the ground and the realisation that you can’t wish those moments back.
Your heart, it carries the sound is that realisation that something ended or was destroyed. The “this is happening for real” moment where you feel the rug has been pulled from beneath your feet. What you make out of your life after said realisation, is up to you. The Last Harbour decided to make an album about it. What will you do*?
*I did this review and feel better!