Hailing from Columbia, but now working from Hiroshima, Japan, husband and wife duo The Last City create baroque pop with an indie feel. Departing from a lot of pop music conventions with the use of classical sounds courtesy of the violin and piano, they create a softly powerful, almost jazz-like ambience that would still hold its own with any modern pop audience. Adam Palmer supplies the R&B-soaked vocal style along with the drums and a very competent guitar infiltrated with jazz leanings. Lizbet Palmer handles the more classical end of the sound, with her dream-like piano and violin parts creating a subtle atmosphere.
According to the band, this 6 song EP “explores 5 of the most prominent ‘characters’ we associate ourselves with; the overlooked woman, the womanizer, the outcast, the used up and forgotten, and the helpless romantic”. The songs try to analyze the value of these expectations and maybe deconstruct their use as self-fulfilling prophecies in a pretty ambitious idea for a concept record. “The Stepping Stone: Rosaline” contains some solid piano parts and “The Misogynist: White Collar Crimes” showcases Adam’s guitar skills with a nice solo. I admired how he obviously has the technical skill to shred but kept his guitar dynamic in line with the wistful mood of the proceedings. Beautiful classical guitar riffs and smooth vocals in the “Interlude: Why Are You Doing This” lead us to the finale, “The Dependable: Chalk in the Rain”, which starts as a quiet piano ballad and begins a journey into an intense finale with all of the duo’s weapons on full display and set to 10.
I found it compelling and nicely ironic that a record based around the concept of “classifications” remains a bit inscrutable and unclassifiable, itself. They claim influences from a lot of pop like One Republic and that holds true to an extent, but this is way more introspective than that style of indie pop. The closest comparisons I can make would be the modern baroque/ chamber pop of bands like St.Vincent or the Decemberists, with a leaner recording studio ethic. The careful strength they employ serves them well and I can’t wait to hear how ambitious a full-length album might be.
Recommended if you like: One Republic, The Decemberists, St. Vincent