The Lasters is an ambitious new solo project inspired by classic concept albums like the narrative witin The Who’s Quadrophenia and Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds. A wholly original and truly out-of-this-world sci-ii concept record to consider with the aforementioned, The Lasters tells the tale of Earth’s final family.
Lemon Jelly producer, Fred Deakin collaborates with ex-Ash member Charlotte Hatherley as well as newcomers Abi Sinclair and Steffan Huw Davies in addition to contributing his own vocals to the album. A thorough 19-track album, Fred has culminated a fair length of concept album. Piano and synths combined with dulcet feminine vocals, it’s a distinguished sound.
Set in a dystopian near future where climate crisis and a nuclear holocaust has brought Earth to the brink of extinction, the album marks Deakin’s first major release since his time as one half of hugely influential, Mercury and Brit-nominated Lemon Jelly. Marking Fred’s first foray into going solo, song-writing and singing, The Lasters pulls together a plethora of contemporary themes including climate change, technological dependence as well as coming-of-age, while also maintaining Lemon Jelly and Fred’s reputation for the inventive contemporary sounds, versatile and varied in nature.
Debut single The End of The World has received support from Jo Whiley (BBC Radio 2), Lauren Laverne (BBC Radio 6) and Gary Crowley (BBC London Radio), and it’s understandable why with the melodic structure and vocals to do it justice, although perhaps more conventional than a normal Lemon Jelly track. Satellite Song is more akin to what I would expect from Mr Deakin, with yet again, however, more focus on the keys and vocals. Certainly didn’t expect that solo guitar riff though. Get the Message Through with Fred’s vocals and reverb resonates, and reminds us that this could be from one half of Lemon Jelly. But I guess if we were looking for a Lemon Jelly album, why would we be listening to a Fred Deakin record?! Metal From The Skies has a comic book aspect to it, the narrative and dialogue using this style of language, with space-themed synth and percussion underscoring the moment.
Through the Veil with the harmonies draws us away from this Sci-Fi concept album, and yet, the lyrics drag us back there. Don’t Give Up, similarly to Metal From The Skies, uses dialogue to narrate the album, and yet also adds a little Calypso-elevator music that pulls the album in yet another direction. It’s an unusual, novel album, which we expect of Lemon Jelly, and yet there are elements that highlight the influences of the collaborators such as the prominence of the keys. A strong first solo contender, The Lasters, is an album that will like these remaining characters, last for a while on earth.
The Lasters is out on 24th January, via Impotent Fury (via Kickstarter).