So says some reputable website on the world wide web. In my experience though, this term can come off as damning praise. “Oh, don’t mind him – he’s a bit eclectic”. You know what I’m talking about, I’m sure you’ve heard the term in the same way. Not always true, mind you – just my experience. I’ve always been drawn to people, authors, and musicians who embrace an eclectic approach. (True Confession: I love Sandinista! by The Clash). There’s something about the all-encompassing approach that I really enjoy. New York City’s The Lost Patrol are a band that use an eclectic approach to great effect.
The Lost Patrol began life as an experimental project devoted to soundtrack music. They released a few albums with that guiding approach before revamping their lineup in 2008 and adding Mollie Israel on vocals to their ranks. Although the early albums are worthy of attention, it seems that this shift was the move that allowed the band to take off and gain well deserved attention. The band now consists of Mollie Israel on vocals and multi-instrumentalists Stephen Masucci and Michael Williams. Each album since 2008 has received praise and critical acclaim which brings me to their latest record – 2013’s Driven. Each album has offered up their classics and “mix tape” songs (wait, do mix tapes still exist?), but the new record takes the highs of the previous records and uses that as the standard for all 12 tracks. Surf rock instrumentals, Cure inspired vibes, even a jazz inspired track towards the end of the album – it is all stunning. Or should I say “eclectic”.
walking tall in your fancy threads (highlights)
Spinning gets the record started off on the right foot with a jangly tune that reminded me of The Sundays and The Ocean Blue (perhaps their bastard child). The instrumental interludes on this track create a haunting atmosphere that compliments the more upbeat verses and chorus. Key lyrics:
My head is spin, spin, spinning!
Dizzy thoughts and sweet submissions
While the time is slip, slip, slipping away… away.
See You in Hell – what a track! Dangerous surf guitar anchors the whole thing down, the sinister riff edging its way into the listeners brain almost immediately. Vocals are the perfect combination of restraint and emotional outpouring. A 50’s / 60’s vibe combined with the punk attitude of The Jesus & Mary Chain. Amazing stuff. Check out these lyrics:
Now you’re walking tall,
in your fancy threads,
with your glassy eyes
in your empty head.
And you’re talking trash,
like you do so well.
I’ll see you in hell.
Invincible is also the name of my favorite post-Chameleons project by Mark Burgess. I had it in my head I’d love this track before I listened to it just based on the title alone (yes, I’m a geek). Incredible bass riff gives this song the feel of a lost post-punk classic from the early 80’s (my hunch was right). The vocals are spot on, the music weaves in and out of melodies and riffs – everything is perfect.
Disguise closes the album with another highlight track for me. Shimmering guitars, ghostly vocals – everything I love in a “Modern Rock” track (remember when they called it that?). Emotional vocals that really connect with the listener, underpinned with sad surf guitars and sound f/x. The last-minute or so serves as an encapsulation of everything that this band is capable of. Perfect closing track. Key lyrics:
Half a million mistakes had sent me wandering,
without a friend or a foe that I could rely on.
You can’t measure success in nickels and dimes.
Always running ahead while looking behind.
This is an album that I’ve had on repeat over the last month or so. Sometimes it recalls the post fuzzed out bliss of The Jesus & Mary Chain’s mid period but it can also bring to mind those amazing surf instrumentals from the 60’s (or the homages to that era that The Pixies offered up). It’s an album that is strengthened by its disparate influences – you’re gonna love it, I guarantee it. Check out the band via their website as well as on everyone’s favorite social network, Facebook.
Verdict: Sold my Soul to The Lost Patrol
For Fans of: East River Pipe, The Pixies, Dick Dale, The Cure, Cocteau Twins, The Jesus & Mary Chain
- All Tomorrow’s Promises
- Chance of Rain
- Little Black Kitten
- See You in Hell
- Burn Me Down
- There & Back
- Tell Me
- Just Go
- In Too Deep