Sound: Lostaura aren't the kind of band that are well known for producing Franz Ferdinand esq riffs, but they more than make up for it with their ear soothingly atmospheric harmonies accompanied by genuinely passionate lyrics. They've often been labelled as indie/alternative, which after their first lp "These Gates" is understandable, however "The Rest Is Mine" possesses another genre (art rock), one which is a growing trend in British Music. Their latest collection is the third release from the quintet from Poole and Bournemouth and displays a rapid progression from previous work. Lostaura consist up of: Dave (vocals and rhythm guitar), Lewis (lead guitar, backing vocals), Craig (lead guitar), Matt (bass) and Jamie (drums).
This third release took longer than previous titles. Lewis mentioned "It took around 3/4 days, but this time we did it live, we all played together rather than doing all the parts separately." The new album clearly carries a different element to it. "We recorded this one with a different sound engineer to the preceding ones, we used Paul Barret. But playing live definitely gives the songs more energy. We much preferred this style of recording." Keen not to repeat themselves, they looked to advance predominantly on the lyrical side of things. Matt: "I didn't like the lyrics on "The Civilian" (Lostaura's second release). The lyrics for "The Rest Is Mine" are more about observations of the people around me. I will normally take my lyrics to Dave and we will work out how they can fit in the song."
As Lostaura are eager to establish themselves, "Mark Your Mark" is a good opener and sets the tone accordingly. This song is arguably the most innovative couple of minutes on the record; it's a live favourite that is easy to dance to. The brooding bass seems to push the song's shoulders back and lift its chin and demand respect. This song is fantastically structured; it builds slowly and just when you're expecting a crashing chorus, it ventures back into the main verse building suspense and mystery. The transition between this and the next song is very pleasing to the ear.
The next song prescriptively named "It Should Begin With An A." Matt, "We always thought that would be a good name for a band." Lewis: It's a cheery, upbeat tune with uplifting lyrics. Lewis, "When we went into the studio we played this together and it just sounded right from the start."
"Raise Your Voice" starts in a very Oasis like fashion, obviously drawing parallels with their inspirations. This is a gloomy song that later bursts into a very strident ending as if the frustration seen in the lyrics boil over. "If we live by mans compliments we will die if they will criticize/take all the punches." Words reflecting on perhaps past criticisms received. A flurry of clever guitar effects are used on this song, one of which being very "wind" instrumentally orientated as if to lead them from their wallows to the hills in a very "Pied Piper" kind of trip.
"Before And After" and "Hesitate" are at the heart of this record. "Before And After" can be found on an earlier release ("These Gates"). It definitely stood out as a stronger song before, but for "The Rest Is Mine" it has been given a slightly more epic edge. The dramatic opening settles down to shuffling drums and another dose of Lostaura styled melancholy of Stone Roses-like jingles that are easy to get drawn into. Lewis, "We re-did this one because it was just an intro and an outro, hence the song title. So we gave it a more orthodox structure." Matt, "It's definitely an aggressive song, we use it to get the crowd moving and Dave loves to dance to it." The aggression is clear in lyrics like "All this pain you have caused me/It's all about you/there's nothing left for you/Now it is I who bleeds."
Lostaura are essentially a guitar band, but the piano song "Hesistate" is a diverse and refreshing offering. A song written and played by Dave was not the first piano song by Lostaura, but previous attempts were "Cheesy and rubbish. They were put together in too much of a rush" says Matt. However, if they think the swift way of recording didn't work first time around, it certainly has in the follow up. "Hesitate" was a last minute idea and has a certain simplicity and honesty about it that instantly likeable. This song is about making important decisions and the fear of uncertainty, underlined by Dave's clean and crisp vocal ability.
Aptly named "I Wish I Was You" is a song about the undesirable growing trends in society that Lostaura obviously aren't too happy with. This song starts with a finger tapping riff that the likes of Matt Bellamy would be proud of. Matt's supplementary bass line proves that Lostaura definitely don't have a one trick horse for a bass guitarist. "Why must my head be down as I walk by/you sit on your cider soaked bench/why must me take, anymore?." Something I think everyone can enjoy about Lostaura is definitely the lyrics. Rather than focusing on things that only concern themselves, they deal with taboos, topic and feelings which most people can relate to.
With this record they have definitely saved the best till last. "Make For The Door" is an album highlight and shows the kind of confidence one comes to expect from a chart topper. It's catchy and pop styled melody sung by Lewis instantly draws you into the song by the scruff of the neck and demands the recipient to sit up and listen to what it has to say. The absence of drums and by solely using acoustic guitars the track creates the kind of experience you might have round a camp fire. This tune is reminiscent of the style used by Jeff Buckley in "Hallelujah"; approachable yet lonely and despairing. I think "Make For The Door" would have been a sophisticated finale to a record, but the inclusion of the song "Better Than This" ensures the listener can leave with a smile. This song commences with dreamy guitar phaser effects that weave's like a "climber" plant passing in and out of the drums and bass. It's a feel good track that offers a comfortable end to the album. // 8
Overall Impression: "The Rest Is Mine" is a clever and ambitious record that is at the same time original and shows a level of confidence years ahead of themselves. The track listing is cleverly selected and ordered to send the listener through an emotional journey. It is a strong progression from previous work and is relevant to the time and era. // 8