Little Wings: Last
There are the cliched musicians. People evoke certain images to complete what they think a musician should look like. For the acoustic guitared set, that includes both folk singers and punk rockers, there is the shared feeling of being an outsider and engaging with the world through a soft spoken demeanor and a guitar shield. Artists like Kurt Cobain used the acoustic guitar to explode outward, personality-wise, reaching across the stage and shaking people with emotion and expression. Little Wings attempts the opposite, the hushed demeanor off the stage, becomes heightened into a vulnerability while performing. The album reads like an audition for quiet background music to a nature program, filled with enigmatic moments of instrumentation and vocals that hover around the same register.
A problem that arises when making music that is approachable through its introspection: it becomes necessary to engage on a more timeless stage. If you are singing about the serenity of the human experience, a thing that has not changed in centuries, your vocabulary should not include “chillaxing.” This may seem minor to criticize, but it’s often the small notes that set the tone for entire albums.
Otherwise what is being created on Last never moves above a certain vocal range of intimacy between the singer and melancholy. Come out and express your crippling woes and Last will meet them with a faux Cat Stevens vibe without all the jubilance or sardonic reaction to negative situations.
In short sips, Last is successful in creating a resigned attitude. The guitar work is often successful and masterful, as in “Neptune’s Next,” but the vocals overwhelm and drag the album down. There needs to be variety to salvage this album.