Oklahoma’s The Lost End are back with their second seven track ‘album’ of the year – it’s shorter than Reign in Blood so I tend to think of it as more of a luxury-length EP – and, whilst Without Being Anything doesn’t pack quite the punch of its self-titled predecessor, there’s still much to enjoy here for fans of strident post-punk.
Opening track Before I Die is one of the best here, built around stentorian quasi-metal riffage and a commanding vocal from the ever-impressive Ryan Taylor. Next track Little Nothing is more what you’d expect from a band happy to be labelled post-punk, Brian Daniel’s bass front and centre, underpinning the sparse instrumentation in solid style. The insistent Cold Hard World is next up, again featuring some nice bass and busy guitar work from Scott Jones, with drummer Trevor Helm offering solid support behind the kit.
The record reaches it’s midpoint with Another Day, which is a definite highlight. Building slowly, with reverbed guitars reminding the listener of Tiger Army, the track quickly hits another bass-driven groove over which Taylor gives his best performance of the record. Fans of darkly slinky, eighties-styled pop are going to lap this up and then some. The same could be said for different reasons about Fading Feeling, which finds Taylor channelling his inner Nick Cave, though the accompanying music is just a little too upbeat and indeed uplifting to make the track truly Caveesque. It’s still rather good though.
Penultimate track Nothing Please Me kicks in with squalling guitars before again letting the rhythm section take control of the track. It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s angular… it’s all you could want from old-school post punk in 2018 and is very effectively executed, especially the diminuendo at the end of the track. Closing song Chemistry Now – which opens with the uber gothic lyric ‘I would break my arm, just to see you smile’- carries an epic air about it despite weighing in at only four and a quarter minutes in length. It’s redemption-in-misery themes echo Bob Mould at his most maudlin mood, black sheets of guitar lashing over the chorus in glorious fashion. It’s a great way to end the album.
Great work again, then, with The Lost End building solidly on their self-titled album from earlier in the year. Here’s to finding out what 2019 holds for the band!
Without Being Anything is out now.