Released on July 14, 2017 (Last Bullet)
Back in March 2012, after witnessing Slash (and opening band Diemonds) tear the roof off the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and while exiting the venue, I was given a CD free of charge from I believe one of the Last Bullet members. Right away, I was captivated by the opening guitar riff for “Can’t Move On” and the rest is history as since that time, I have had the pleasure of seeing and reviewing seven Last Bullet concert performances while getting to know lead singer Bryan Fontez a little bit and interviewing him a couple of times in the process.
Last Bullet‘s last EP Love.Lust.Illusion dates back to August 2012 so I think the band was more than overdue for an album of new music. I know that Last Bullet decided to focus on pushing a few singles with the first one being “Sin” in November 2015 followed by “Southern Lips” in October 2016 before electing to release a new EP. Aside from the newest song “Gimme Time”, I had heard all of the other tracks on numerous occasions in live settings over the years dating back to July 2014 for the tracks “Bright Lights,” “Smoke & Ashes” and “Southern Lips.” I get that bands evolve musically but to be honest, I have disliked the musical direction that Last Bullet have been taking for some time. Whenever I have seen Last Bullet play live in the last three years, I have always enjoyed their older material way more and frankly internally hoped that they wouldn’t play their new songs aside from “Southern Lips” and “Little Miss Filthy.”
Rather than the catchy melodies and witty lyrics that were so prevalent on the first self-titled EP or the heavier AC/DC like (at times) rhythm filled tunes on the band’s sophomore EP Love.Lust.Illusion, Last Bullet have decided to channel more ’90s era slower styled music. Gone are the great melodies and mesmerizing but simple guitar riffs, and in are slower plodding type songs with melancholic modern sounding guitars and a real lack of melodies. There are only three songs that I enjoy listening to on 80-69-64. The other three should have never made the cut. The three decent tracks are “Sin” (for which the band shot a cool video for), the more ’80s sounding and most straightforward rocker “Southern Lips” and finally the heavier “Little Miss Filthy” which is likely the closest track to the ones found on Love.Lust.Illusion. None of those three tracks are what I would consider to be great songs but they are at least worth listening to.
What about the three songs that should not have made the cut? “Bright Lights” starts off promising building up slowly but the crescendo portion when the chorus hits is just too slow paced and the song never really picks up from there. If I was at a concert, this would be a song that I would consider going for a bathroom break. Had “Bright Lights” been sped up at the appropriate portions of the song, it could have been so much better and worthy of being on the album. “Smoke & Ashes” is just a dull track from start to finish. It’s another song that could have benefited from being sped up quite a bit but rather it plods along seemingly aimlessly. This takes me to “Gimme All.” This was the only track that I had not heard in a live setting. Funny enough, Fontez advised me the last time that I saw Last Bullet live that I would not like the song. He couldn’t be more right. This song is a marked departure for Last Bullet who are obviously trying to appeal to a completely different music market with such a track. Another slow plodder with a lack of melodies and not whole lot going on in the song. Funny enough, I like it more than “Smoke & Ashes” which isn’t saying much. And what the hell happened to guitar hero Brendan Armstrong? It appears that he’s pretty much on hiatus on 80-69-64.
Overall, 80-69-64 is one big disappointment compared to Last Bullet‘s two prior EPs. I get that musicians evolve over time but experimentation and changing a band’s sound does not mean that you are improving in any way. I am hoping that for their next album (assuming there will be one), Last Bullet have gotten these plodding melancholic types of songs out of their system and can get back to rocking and rolling with some catchiness and melody like they were so good at doing early in their musical career. You can see what I mean by going to Last Bullet‘s website as they are currently streaming all three of their EPs free of charge.
02. Gimme Time
03. Bright Lights
04. Southern Lips
05. Smoke & Ashes
06. Little Miss Filthy
Bryan Fontez – lead vocals
Brendan Armstrong – lead guitar
Michael Silva – rhythm guitar
Will Shannon – bass
Chriz Galaz – drums
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, July 2017
Last Bullet‘s “Sin” video:
Nominated for “Best Music Video” by the Toronto Independent Music Awards* Last Bullet’s new single “SIN” is now available on iTunes. Go to http://lastbulletmusic.com for more music, merch and tour dates.
Last Bullet‘s “Southern Lips” song:
Southern Lips is now available on iTunes and all other streaming services worldwide. For more info visit us at www.lastbulletmusic.com!