Sound — 6
The Last Goodnight has taken a cue from a host of other pop-rock radio bands (namely Maroon 5) by recording ballad after ballad that will likely appeal to teen girls on it's debut album Poison Kiss. But while Maroon 5 has wisely decided to recently immerse itself in a more pure funk sound, The Last Goodnight remains mired in watered-down pop rock, with songs that blend in with each other all too easily. Although there are some unique creative touches here and there, most of the tracks sound exactly like all the other adult contemporary bands that have bombarded the radio these days. Pictures Of You is one of the first singles off of the album, which is unfortunate because it's also one of the duller tracks on the album. While it it's possible that it might tug at some young girls' heartstrings out there, the ballad still goes in no interesting new direction. Another ballad on the CD called This Is The Sound fares a bit better with it's melody, but it still fails to be that memorable. Love songs don't have to be dull if they're tackled passionately, but both ballads fail at being anything but formulaic. One Trust starts out promising, with what sounds like a crazy guitar reverb trick you hear gradually build in volume. But as soon as you begin to get into the guitar effect, it seems to exit just as quickly. It returns immediately to a basic, chord-driven ballad that just happens to be not quite as slow as the other love songs. There appears to be some nice lead guitar work from Mike Nadeau going on under the final chorus, but it's so far underneath the vocal tracks that it doesn't get an opportunity to stand out that much. The standout track is Good Love, a ballad that morphs into a funkier track during the chorus. It's the contrast between the jazzy vibe of the verse and the funk-inspired chorus that gives it an originality that is missing on too much of the rest of Poison Kiss. Keyboardist Ely Rise's work is another highlight of Good Love, with some very cool organ lines closing out the song.
Lyrics — 7
If you're not a fan of love songs, then the lyrics on Poison Kiss are going to be overkill. The majority of the tracks are about love in some way, shape, or form, and the lyrics are pretty standard pop-rock material. In Pictures Of You vocalist Kurtis John sings, Confess to me every secret moment; Every stolen promise you ever believed; Confess to me all that lies between us. While there is definitely an audience for pop love songs, hearing the same theme over and over again on the 12-track CD just gets exhausting after the 5th or 6th song.
Overall Impression — 6
It's always discouraging to hear a band stick with the same pop formula, and The Last Goodnight has fell victim to this on Poison Kiss. There are so many ballads that sound the same and the album lags heavily halfway through. If the band would have added just a few more up-tempo tracks, that in itself would have helped do wonders for the album. Although the songs don't allow the band to let loose musically, every once in a while you do hear some very nice solo lines underneath from both the guitarist and keyboardist. The Last Goodnight should consider taking a risk (at least by radio standards) and adding in an extended solo here or there on its next album. It's the moments when you do hear something more than just the usual chords that the songs take on a different life, and unfortunately Poison Kiss is in very short supply of those moments.