steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Last

"L.A. Explosion" CD reissue

Bomp! Records

Genres: power pop, L.A. punk, pop-punk

Bomp Records
PO Box 7112
Burbank, CA 91510

Mar 31 - Apr 6 2003

When did we become so disgusted by the blending of punk with pop in the form of Avril Lavigne?  How detached have we become from a time when the two genres used to go hand-in-hand?  Remember The Buzzcocks?  Remember The Undertones?  Remember The Last?

L.A Explosion was The Last's debut album.  Starting off a relatively obscure career on a relatively obscure (and yet important) Burbank, California label - that being Bomp! Records - the band were to record some of the best L.A punk nuggets ever to be committed to tape.  And listening now, many people will be surprised to discover how dang catchy they are.

Short and succinct, the fifteen songs on L.A. Explosion (as well as the six reissue-exclusive bonus tracks) run the gamut from cheery pop ("This Kind of Feeling," "Every Summer Day") to neat-o psych ("She Don't Know Why I'm Here," "Bombing of London,") to Buzzcock-y punk-pop ("I Don't Want To Be In Love," "Looking At You").  It's a perfect mix, and it characterizes a perfect debut album by a band of hooligans who were formed before the Sex Pistols even released their first single.  Influenced as much by the sixties "punk" sound as the Ramone climate that the band had been born unto, they were certainly a creative lot.  Stray genres also find solace in L.A. Explosion - "Slavedriver," for example, has a powerful surf guitar part, and the album's third last song just happens to be a cover of "Be-Bop-A-Lula."

The bonus tracks, meanwhile, are a Last fan's most sacred dream.  Alternate, more psychedelic versions of "She Don't Know Why I'm Here" (which I personally like very much) and "Bombing of London" are included from their 1977 debut 45.  Then comes different versions of "Every Summer Day" and "Hitler's Brother," the latter of which was a b-side of the "Every Summer Day" single from 1978.  An early version of the album's title-track (from the 1978 single) is also included.  Then, to top things off, the band's spaced out contribution to Bomp Records' Waves compilation is thrown in for good measure.  Poising ultra-modified vocals over a heavily distorted guitar/drum/bass background, it sounds as it was a Jupiter import from the 60s.

To be blunt, this could be the best reissue of 2003 so far.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 21 songs, distributed by the label, orig. released 1979; reissued 2003]