The debut EP from Last Boy (AKA Haydn Park-Patterson of The Ninth Wave) is a physical-disc-only endeavour. It’s boxed up like a DVD, with an 18 BBFC age-rating stamp and some striking photographs as the artwork. To those who didn’t pre-order a copy in time, I feel a great responsibility to adequately review the material. You know, to show you what your ears are missing out on — but, naturally, try to do this captivatingly charming collection justice, too.
Last Boy’s what-it-says-on-the-tin promise is to package up a dour demeanour, but you get with that a brutal honesty, and vocal tones that are soft, gentle and delicate throughout. The five-song EP is a wistful clash of melodies, harmonies and Celtic strings in the main; the latter elevates sheer technical, instrumental skill to a dimension that harnesses warmly tearjerking hooks.
Wrongly or rightly, I have to make a mention of The Ninth Wave at this point. The band understood how to craft sombre, emotional pieces that get a reaction — a lump in your throat — and you still receive that here. There’s a comfort in the familiarity of the yearning lyrics and piano keys, but Last Boy has absolutely pulled off a totally distinct, personal sound as well. It’s the ultimate outcome for fans, such as myself, that Haydn’s taken across to follow his solo project.
It kicks off with ‘Young Pups’, a refined, shake-off-your-blues opener that’s very balladic in its approach, so you can begin to identify the mood that’s in store. And for those of us who had letters in the post as a pre-EP teaser, the second offering, ‘whyd’yenever’, is a welcome treat. Its full utilisation of guitars and violins could make you well up within seconds. The tune is affirming and reminds you of “all the good stuff” you should shout about. It’s almost therapeutic in its poetic delivery, too, and the words grip you with their blunt accuracy; “With no room for hope, you’ll grow white with worry / This life is just a sick joke that plays out in a hurry”.
While I’d maintain that one’s my favourite, it’s closely chased by the pleasing middle song, ‘Second Thought Morning’. And it’s those strings again that tip the scales, yet there’s an almost muffled, semi-distorted chorus injected for hauntingly good measure. This is the stuff; it’s what will continue to solidify Last Boy’s place not only in the Glasgow scene, but all around Scotland and the UK.
Slower numbers fade the EP out, including the title piece (and a hell of a pun), ‘Coffin Fit’. ‘Death Of The Summer’ is then the mellow closer; a stripped-back track that relies on clean piano chords.
Yes, it’s noticeably similar to The Ninth Wave’s trademark style, but of course it would be — and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. An out-of-nowhere techno record or something would’ve just been bizarre. After all, this is Haydn Park-Patterson doing what he does best, under a fab new moniker, and as seemingly effortlessly talented as ever.
If you were also there at their final show at SWG3, with a sad face on as you left the venue post-gig, you can go ahead and flip that frown upside down. Last Boy’s arrived, you see.
With a huge thanks to Haydn Park-Patterson for so kindly sending me the EP