Thursday, March 02, 2006

Last Laugh - No Regrets CD Review

Next time you are hanging out with some of your punk music listening buddies, pull one of them aside and ask them to tell you about their first experience with the genre. Surprisingly, more often than not, each punk fan’s story will share many common traits, the most prominent being the description of the music upon their initial listen, much like this response from Johnny Q. Public when asked what it was like when he first heard a punk band:

“It was so raw, man. This wasn’t what I was used to hearing on the radio or from my friends’ CD collections. There was an intensity that felt so genuine despite the simplistic nature of the actual music. It showed me that production values don’t make music good—the attitude does. Their talent lied within their ability to make rough music that made me want to get up and kick a kitten!”

Last Laugh, a strong member of Suburban Noize Records roster, embodies that crazy, raw punk spirit—and wears their influences proudly on their sleeves. It’s a given that No Regrets isn’t going to revolutionize any punk sub-genre or bring about a punk resurgence, but what it does do is show that there are still bands in today’s punk arena that know where modern melodic punk’s roots lie.

It won’t be hard for listeners to pick out the parts of the songs that sound like NOFX, Pennywise, early MxPx & Offspring, or AFI. Not all of Last Laugh’s songs are simply throwbacks to the 80’s and 90’s, however. There are some uses of modern punk song structures and vocal harmonization, even if they are not totally noticeable at first and don’t have predominant parts to many of the songs. “Overboard”, for example, shows some of the modernity of punk styles Last Laugh exude by making astute use of a piano intro, harmonized choruses, and a drum heavy bridge.

One thing that deserves a little note about this album is Last Laugh’s cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Paint it Black”. Cover songs usually bring on a shudder since most bands don’t understand how to properly do a cover or there is such little variation from the original song that including it on an album seems quite superfluous. Last Laugh avoids these pitfalls and turns in a stellar, yet gritty, version that doesn’t feel out of place on the album and doesn’t lose any of the Stones’ genius musicianship.

Last Laugh, with No Regrets, possesses an album that stands among some of the classics of yesteryear. Standing among them, however, you may be hard pressed to choose this release over some of the classics, but for the younger punk listener, this CD is exactly what they need to open their ears to all of the greatness that has come before what makes up the punk crowd of today. This CD could be their gateway to past gems.

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