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Album review: The Latenight Callers - Songs For Stolen Moments





Album review: The Latenight Callers - Songs For Stolen Moments

(Photos by Todd Zimmer)

From the first time I watched the video for “The Tease,” I succumbed to the fact that I was a fan of The Latenight Callers. Their ability to blend classic sounds with contemporary styling and a fresh approach is exactly why they are a local favorite. No doubt that TLNC has a very high ceiling. Those unfamiliar with the band will love their unique sound. They have a swanky blend of early Portishead, Garbage, and Lana Del Rey, but with an attitude that is genuinely their own.
 
I listened to Songs For Stolen Moments—the band’s first full LP—three times prior to initiating this review. Like a good movie, this record sucks you in and gives you a departure from the world for 53 minutes. The drum machine programming and keyboard work by Nick Combs is standout; the musicianship and vocal performances overall are top-shelf.
 
Songs For Stolen Moments starts off with “In Cold Blood,” which leads me to expect Humphrey Bogart stepping into a smoky bar with TLNC on stage. Classy and timeless come to mind. The journey steps to “Gypsy Moll,” which has a slight Garbage-meets-Ray Manzarek sound. The guitars are ripe with feel and the solo is perfectly suited to the song. Julie Berndsen’s voice is seducing, with or without the bullhorn effect.
 
The third track, “Straightrazor,” could be the next James Bond theme song. Krysztof Nemeth’s baritone guitar work on this track is catchy while maintaining a sultry feel.
 
Since it was the TLNC first song I heard, I’m partial to “The Tease.” The song represents the hit potential of this band. Its hypnotic nature is a consistent aspect throughout the record—it really does compel you to listen completely. The flow into “Red Bricks, White Ghosts” feels natural. “Thunderbolt” takes it up a notch, with a little nastier and dirtier sound. I appreciate how the album evolves that way.
 
I’m a fan of any production that uses sound effects and short titles on its albums, so “Interlude” into “Sleepless” is a perfect story to tell the listener. “Sleepless” ended up being my favorite song on the album. It has everything that you expect of TLNC’s sound. Gavin Mac’s bass line is catchy, the melody line is memorable, and Bernsden’s voice sounds amazing. “Tourniquets,” with its wild syncopation, was a fun track.
 
The album winds down with the cool marimba sounds and great arpeggio guitar of “The Big Sleep,” a nearly seven-minute song. It is followed by “Odessa,” another great song with nice effects and sonic landscape, which proved to be my second favorite track. Lastly, they lead us to the door of that swanky bar and bid us good night with the last cut, “Epilogue.” Overall, the production and song craftsmanship is blissful and intriguing.
 
 
Editor’s note: Songs For Stolen Moments was mixed and mastered by Duane Trower at Weights and Measures Soundlab in Kansas City. Video for “The Tease” was produced and directed by Anthony Ladesich. The version of the song for the video was on the band’s debut EP, most of which was re-recorded for this new LP.
 
Be sure to don your finest suit or gown and head to recordBar this Saturday, June 8, where The Latenight Callers are hosting a special release party for Songs For Stolen Moments. Thick and the Foolish and In Back Of A Black Car will also perform. Show starts at 10:00. Facebook event page.

--William Saunders 

 

William is a local record producer, singer/songwriter, and guitarist/singer for The Walltalkers. He is also the head monkey at Saunders Street Records and still likes movies with giant robots.

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