Review by Greg Haymes
THE LAST CONSPIRATORS
Hold That Thought Forever
(Driving Rain Music)
When last we heard from the Last Conspirators on their 2013, Terry Plunkett-produced A Celebration of Fury, the veteran punk band seemed headed toward the metalesque edge of the musical spectrum.
But a lot has happened since then. Plunkett and the band parted ways; bassist Nick Bisanz shifted over to fill Plunkett’s vacated guitar chair; and new bassist Mike Grundy was recruited.
Produced by Conehead Buddha’s Chris Fisher at his Easter Island Studios in Coxsackie, Hold That Thought Forever is the new line-up’s debut (the band’s fourth release over-all), and all but one of the album’s 11 songs are co-written by frontman Tim Livingston (a veteran of the Morons and Ghostrunner) with Bisanz. And the personnel shifts seem to be reflected in a new direction…
With the exception of the potent, chugging “The Truth and a Gun,” the song lyrics eschew the band’s usual political rage in favor of more personal examinations of passion. Affairs of the heart, desire and obsession (especially on “1302,” “Tracks” and the slinky “Addiction”) have moved to the foreground.
And musically, the new album finds the band leaning toward a more mainstream rock approach, beginning with the opening power-pop romp through “Perfect Lovers in a Complicated World.” The new wave-ish “Fortune Teller” starts out on a vibe reminiscent of Split Enz’s “I Got You” and finds Livingston turning in some Tom Petty-like vocal stylings.
Which is not to say that the Last Cons don’t go for the throat. Livingston spits out his caustic vocals on the fuzz-busted “Alright” with deadly venom. And the album closes out with “Look at Me One More Time” – the most explosive rocker on the disc – even as Livingston lets loose his inner poet with spoken word sections over a churning hot-bed of raging guitars, drummer Al Kash’s brutal pounding and a squall of ghostly feedback.