First posted on echoesanddust.com.
Timber Timbre’s Simon Trottier and Olivier Fairfield’s new and exciting project Last Ex sees the release of their self-titled album effort. Drawing upon groundwork established during attempts to make a soundtrack to a 2012 horror film, Last Ex showcase a phenomenal instrumental rock style (or Post-Rock to some), echoing the days of early Do Make Say Think and Tortoise. ‘Last Ex’ comes across as a very unusual and slightly inaccessible/out-of-reach album experience, presenting a slightly harrowing and unsettling viewpoint of our world where there’s twists and turns at every corner, ready to jump out at you.
Many elements of ‘Last Ex’ seem to build up from the framework being established by the soundtrack genre, giving a real sense of structure to the album. Trottier and Fairfield however haven’t let themselves be limited by the rules of the genre, and instead use it as a jumping off point, establishing new ideas, concepts and even rules in their music. Much of the album has the feelings of an instrumental rock album, though the album doesn’t strictly feel as such, and instead portrays its own images and ideas incredibly naturally, showing incredible dedication to the crafting of real music. The album experience feels exciting and worrying, throwing up an incredible range of emotions and ideas all anchored around incredibly cohesive structures.
We can argue that ‘Last Ex’ suffers at times from similar structures and motifs in the various tracks, giving a sense of similarity that runs throughout the whole album. We can even argue that there’s a very dark undertone to the whole album, making it quite uncomfortable to some. The album experience feels very distant, not offering much that listeners can easily connect with. It’s arguable, but whenever these moments occur, it somehow seems to work for the album itself, strengthening the whole experience and giving it the sense of being a concept album. Last Ex seem to have constructed a superb album experience that seems to have come out of nowhere.
Last Ex’s debut effort come across as a superb album experience, echoing a style of instrumental-rock music that seems to have been lost for a fair few years, whilst simultaneously bring new life to it. Elements of ‘Last Ex’ don’t feel all together new or exciting, but Last Ex have hardly offered up a rehashing of what we already know and are familiar with. ‘Last Ex’ is ultimately its own album experience, ready to please anyone who love carefully crafted music, where everything just simply works. It’s quite dark and unsettling, though this debut album from Last Ex offers so much, including comfortable repeated listening time and time again.
- ★★★★★ 5/5
- Girl Seizure
- It’s Not Chris
- Neil’s Theme
- Cite D’or
Last Ex’s debut album ‘Last Ex’ is out now on Constellation Records.