This is a review of "Quiet Storm EP" recorded by Last Night's TV. The review was written by Sam Saunders in 2001.
The opening song "Quiet Storm" will be on Last Night's TV's forthcoming
album "Too Much in Doubt". The three other tracks, "Some Place to Go", "Shoes, Model's Own", and "Gone" (this last played solo) can only be found here.
So what is found? The uncompromising minimalism of Spencer Bayles, songwriter and singer. That's it.
Negatives first. These are built in, integral, things without which ... and there's no point complaining. So here they are: Spencer's vocal range is narrow; Sarah Jones' violin has an exposed relationship with pitch; the songs are mournful. The solo guitar decorations are not very decorative and at five indulgent minutes per song seems to break the ascetic demands put on all other aspects of Last Night's TV.
So what's left? Four utterly consistent and human songs in a voice that knows what it wants to say. The microphone is up close and the mouth teeth larynx and lungs are all right there in the mix. The guitar playing is a little richer than on their "Know and Love" EP but still has a tentative stroked feel and it doesn't go far beyond a narrow range of strum patterns on minor chords. There's a characteristic Ovation guitar sound. It's clean and monochrome. A bass line helps to keep the music in touch with the solid world. The ethereal melodies are echoed in the pure long notes of Sarah Jones' violin playing. Owen Marriott touches lightly on hand percussion. He is also given the credit for mixing. There are one or two more tracks in the mix than on the first EP and a little more range in the sound colours. But "one or two" and "a little" tell the story.
It's very subtle, it's very personal and it's very chilled. The music in Spencer Bayles' head is distinctive and fine. To hear it you have to make a worthwhile effort of your own. The lyrics are the lightest engravings of knife on stone. Supply your own detail and colour.