Image By Jessica Aleece
WORDS BY THOMAS FREEMAN
Queensland’s dreamy electro-pop duo Lastlings have finally dropped their debut album, ‘First Contact’. They’ve been getting a bit of a following in the last few years, going back to 2016 when they were a finalist in Triple J’s Unearthed High competition, and supporting artists including Two Door Cinema Club and The Jungle Giants nationally. ‘First Contact’ is an album that I was personally really keen for, as I was loving the singles the band had been dropping up until the release date, as well as Triple J giving them some well-deserved airplay.
Their sound is a mix of Rufus Du Sol, The Kite String Tangle and The xx, blending wonderful synth-filled production with catchy pop hooks that resonate well with the listener. This all comes together for a really solid debut LP that captures the feelings of different first experiences; from first love to first heartbreak and everything in-between, resulting in an album that shows how these moments shape who we are, and who Lastlings are too.
I was a huge fan of the single ‘No Time’; a track that very quickly became one of my favourite songs of 2020. It’s a song that reminds me a lot of Rufus Du Sol’s 2018 banger ‘Underwater’. The production on this track is also pretty fantastic, with a variety of sci-fi inspired sounds adding to the track immensely. ‘No Time’ also contains one of the best choruses on the whole album, and one of the best hooks too.
“There’s no time; we’re losing the light
So come on and free your mind; the way you did mine”
‘Déjà vu’, another standout track, was one of the first singles released for the album back in 2019. To say that it’s a great opener is a massive understatement, with an infectious beat that is nearly impossible not to boogie along to. The chorus just sounds huge with Amy’s lead vocals providing possibly the best hook on the album. The deep bass sounds in the chorus drive the track so well and the magnificent howling sounds tie the track all together really nicely too.
‘Take My Hand’ continues the synth-filled sounds into another really enjoyable song on the album. It reminds me a lot of the sci-fi film Blade Runner with the 80’s synths creating a unique aesthetic and an enjoyable rhythm too. Amy’s vocals really stood out in the chorus on this track too, fitting in nicely with the atmosphere created from the beats and sounds produced from Josh.
‘Out of Touch’ also stood out to me on the LP, with the buzzing bass sounds during the chorus and guitar throughout the song, which was inspired by the anime film ‘The Wind Forest’. I think lyrically it also captured the relatable feelings and needs about unwinding and disconnecting from everything pretty well. It does feel similar to ‘Déjà vu’ in the beat, but there was still a lot about this song to enjoy and that made it different to the other tracks. Whilst I did find the over-familiarity less enjoyable at times, both ‘Out of Touch’ and ‘False Reactions’, along with most songs on the album, have catchy and memorable choruses with great lyrics and production which elevates the album above being a mediocre and unoriginal record.
‘Last Breath’ is one of the more upbeat songs on the album. I like the quicker beat in the verses, especially when it contrasts with a more minimal pre-chorus, making for a song that does sound and feel different to the other songs off the record. Amy’s vocals and Josh’s production once again coincide together really well, making for one of the LP’s greatest strengths.
I really liked the piano in ‘Visions’; I thought it was really effective in giving the track a nice atmosphere. It’s a song that feels like something out of a sci-fi anime series, which is something that sounds really different in a lot of current electro-pop music. Flowing into the next track ‘AI’ seemed really fitting for the style with some of the best ambient and atmospheric sounds on the whole record. I really liked the big electronic sci-fi vibes that the second half of the album brought, especially on the song ‘Held Under’ with its dreamy-electronic synth sounds. The production of this track is also fantastic, with the perfect amount of autotune added in parts on the layered vocals.
‘First Light’ is a solid interlude into the album’s closure, with ‘I’ve Got You’ finishing the album really nicely. Similar to the opener, it has one of the best choruses on the album, with its fantastic hook and some really great synth-filled production backing it up. It has a really big feel to it, especially with the drums and bass sounds throughout the track. It did feel like it ended a bit too quickly, with the track fading out almost unexpectedly at the end, but I still think that it was a great end to the LP and one of my favourite songs from the album.
“Every time you cross the line, I’ll be there
I’ve got you”
I remember seeing them play live back in 2017 and thinking to myself that this group had a lot of potential to do big things in the future, and if the singles were going to be an indication of how this album would be shaped, it’s safe to say that I was right all these years ago.
‘First Contact’ has so many positive things going for it, with the excellent vocals and production making for the some of the best Australian electro-pop music that we’ve heard in 2020. It’s an album that also has a lot of really great choruses and hooks all throughout, giving us songs that are catchy and memorable. There are moments that feel a bit too same-same, or too familiar to other songs, but I can’t deny that I was really impressed with this debut album from Lastlings. It’s definitely an album that’s worth checking out.