03 Jul 2023 - Dan D.
Screamo | Hardcore | Deathwish Inc. | Release date: 30 Jun 2023 | Favorite song: Glare
It’s been a long old wait for Loma Prieta’s new album. Almost 8 years in fact since Self Portrait was released. I honestly started worrying whether I’d ever get to hear a new LP album at all but here they are with Last and damn was it worth the wait. These San Franciscan noiseniks are sounding as vital as ever and showing the young upstarts who have emerged since their previous album graced our ears how heavy and emotive music is really done. That last comment isn’t meant as a slight, it’s just that for me, no-one scratches that Screamo itch quite like Loma Prieta and boy was I itchy!
I’ve been an avid listener of the band since Last City was released 15 years or so ago but for me it was with the release of I.V. where Loma Prieta really started to come in to their own. I.V. is such an aggressive album but with these stunningly beautiful melodies peaking through the devastation; anyone who has heard ”Fly By Night” will understand what I mean. The same characteristics are present in Last and whilst it is less nihilistic in nature than I.V. it comes across as Loma at their most refined.
Last opens with the instrumental ”Sequitur”, compiled of atmospheric backwards swell (which incidentally close the album too) before ”NSAIDs” leads us into more familiar Loma territory. Full of soaring guitars, a quiet, loud, quiet structure and inspired piano accompaniment it’s a perfect first song proper. It also contains spoken word sections which are prevalent throughout the album and used to great effect. Previously release single ”Sunlight” follows and brings the fury during its 89 seconds duration. ”Dose”, potentially the ‘catchiest’ track on this record steps before the anthemic ”Fire in Black & White” levels the listener with its wall of fuzz. ”One-Off (Part 2)” is arguably the most straight up Screamo track on the album and ”Circular Saw” starts off as a mournful number before exploding into a whorl of fury.
Whilst everything that Loma Prieta showcase on Last” thus far has been worth of inclusion on any of their previous albums, it’s on the next four tracks that the album really shines. It’s been a very long time since an album has closed with a better run of tracks than ”Symbiosis”, “Dreamlessnessless”, “Glare” and ”LLC”. The songwriting on these tracks is honestly up there with the best I’ve heard this decade so far. Each song showcases a very individual level of emotion, heaviness, melody, and technical prowess, but nevertheless work so, so well. More importantly each has a heart unlike anything I’ve listened to in some considerable time. I must take this moment to applaud Sean Leary, Valeriano Saucedo, Brian Kanagaki and James Siboni for their talent. I’m refusing to write about each track individually. Just listen and experience them yourself.
One further thing I’ve always appreciated is the band’s choices when it comes to production style and Jack Shirley has done an excellent job here marrying the aforementioned melodies and swathes of fuzz that threatens to annihilate the listener at any moment. There’s a feeling of instability brought to the album where you wouldn’t be surprised if it crumbled and fell apart. This is an exciting listening experience and is probably best showcased in ”Fire in Black & White” and the mid-section of album closer ”LLC”. Everything is pushed to the limit to the extent that there is nowhere else to go. Distortion consumes all and I LOVE IT!
Please listen to this album. It’s the most emotive and exciting release I’ve heard this year so far and it deserves the attention of every discerning music fan out there. If you’ve read my reviews before, you’ll know that I often wear my heart on my sleeve and have a tendency to gush when I enjoy something, but honestly, this is a SPECIAL album.