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The Last Chapter by Clarkesville

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Reviewed on 1st August 2003.


The Last Chapter

By Clarkesville

A drop of rain was the final ingredient for propelling Travis into the major league of the UK's recording artists. Coldplay hit a chord with students everywhere by using only three to give us "Yellow". Music is a funny business where many great songs will lie largely undiscovered for years, maybe forever, whilst others become anthems for a generation. Right place, right time I guess.

Here we have such an album that could go either way. Largely the work of one man, Michael Clarke, this is as uplifting and "poppy" as Travis doing 'Happy' and as gentle swooning as Chris Martin at his most sentimental. Some nifty synth and programming work help give the delightful melodies a little more va-va-voom, highlighted on "Moonflowers" which comes across as New Order breaking into California sunshine drenched, Fountains Of Wayne-esque choruses. "Reprise" follows with gentle acoustic plucking and a vocal melody that will have hearts breaking across the nation. Twinned with a string section this is a song of enormous beauty.

But hey, back to the start! Opener "Evergreen" has a programmed drumbeat and is a lazy opener that broods and builds in atmosphere, slowly sucking you in rather than making any attempts to grab at you with sweaty paws. 'Flick right through me or leave me on the stand, or you can rip me up with your bare hands', a nice metaphor that shows Clarke has as much a way with words as he does a fine tune. That is precisely what "Heavy Soul" has, a fine tune. The engine room contains the kind of beat that defies your foot not to tap along as we approach the sing-along chorus. It's the kind of track that sounds great on record but has you desperate to hear played live.

"Secret File" has started getting some airplay so I'm assuming this will be the first single to be released. It's another pop-tastic corker of a chorus and contains a simple but instantly unforgettable guitar motif. Travis drummer Neil Primrose makes an appearance on "Last Man Standing" so lets hope his endorsement is enough to attract a few more listeners. If life were fair though such things would matter not. This is a wonderful album that warrants its place in any record collection purely because it contains 10 great songs; weighing in at less than 40 minutes too. Go buy it quick so you can smile smugly at your friends cos you got in first on this one.

Stunning, beautiful and uplifting.



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