Review: Little Wings – Last
Published on February 14th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
Rocksucker’s not exactly a stickler for technical proficiency – heck, we could listen to Wayne Coyne or Stephen Malkmus sing all day – but the inconsistency of Kyle Field’s vocal performances on Last, his tenth album as Little Wings, is frustrating to the point of distraction.
When they’re good, as with the wistfully cascading titular inflections on opener “I Waited on the Door”, you might find yourself mentally listing everyone you know who’s into Lambchop and/or Tindersticks so you can alert them to this chap, wryly lyrical of baritone and gently caressing of nylon strings as he is.
Too often for comfort, however, Field’s out-of-tune slurring just sounds drunk and erodes the will to last the course. He can get away with this to an extent on lovably daft sort-of-kids’-songs such as “Where is the Worm”, but more often than not it transgresses the fine line between ‘acquired taste’ and ‘just plain jarring’.
Delights are scattered along the way – the peculiar gait of “Country Skull”, the urgent speak-sing storytelling on “Neptune’s Next”, the pan flute and twinkly sci-fi keys of “Knock on Every Door” – but ultimately “Sunburned Eyes” provides an unwitting microcosm for Last by very almost being a sublime soul ballad, held back by the absence of the kind of more assured vocal that bafflingly graces the ensuing “Somebody Loves Me”.
This is an honest, heartfelt and sporadically charming LP, but if you’re anything like Rocksucker then it’s unlikely to be one you’ll return to.
Rocksucker says: Two and a Half Quails out of Five!
Last is out now on Rad.