It is the band’s first full-length album since Superjudge not to feature long time guitarist Ed Mundell, although long time fans will have noticed his absence from the past three year’s worth of live dates. To be fair, Dave has done such a fantastic job of maintaining the signature Monster Magnet sound, vibe and attitude that this potentially critical loss is actually well compensated for. If you like what the band have done in the past this certainly won’t send you running away in disgust.
The album doesn’t really have a snappy elevator pitch like “the band’s doomiest album,” “the band’s catchiest songs to date” or “the band’s most experimental release yet” but there’s clearly a reason why it’s garnering so much positive attention from fans and critics alike. Give it a listen or twelve and let it get underneath your skin, there’s a lot going on here and repeat listens allow it to fully reveal all of its many charms.
The songs are mostly long, hypnotic and trippy numbers that focus on repeating one riff (acoustic or electric) over and over again on a rolling wave of sound effects or solos, building and building up teasing the listener with their constant threats of flat-out exploding. This isn’t so much a collection of easily digestible radio singles but rather a more considered and slow-burning affair. Most of it could be described as laid back or chilled, although its not an distortion-free affair by any means either, so don’t fear that it doesn’t pick up the pace every now and again for variety.
Its very much what you’d want from Monster Magnet to balance out the more immediate previous three albums. A bit of a nod back to their earlier days, without lapsing into falt out nostalgia-farming. You can still very much hear the 70s and particularly 60s rock influences, you still have Dave’s absolutely phenomenal vocals, lyrics and undeniable charisma, and you still have virtuosic lead guitar work only now you get it all amidst the drawn-out, slower and trippier side of the band’s many-sided skillset, like it was on the first three albums, but with a bit of the new days left in too for good measure.
It’s the kind of album that will have you nodding in agreement rather than jumping around, but its none the worse for it. If you took the three most trippy songs from Mastermind and extrapolated them into a whole album, then mixed in a bit of Dopes To Infinity’s relationship between the hard bits and the light bits, you’d have something vaguely approaching the style of Last Patrol.
Highlights include the lively ‘End Of Time,’ (which mixes a Mastermind style bounce with that Hawkwind-influenced Superjudge style) the dynamic single ‘The Duke (Of Supernature)’ which is fabulously entertaining on repeat listens, and the Magnetized Donovan cover ‘Three King Fishers’ which is pretty captivating all around.
Overall; Last Patrol is yet another high quality album from the undeniably unique and interesting band, and it definitely deserves a place in your collection. It’s a bit of a grower, so give it a fair chance and time to sink in, but in general, if you like the band you should be pretty happy with this release. If you can, try and the special edition version as the two bonus tracks are really enjoyable, not throwaway afterthoughts but rather genuinely cracking Magnet songs that just didn’t fit the album’s tone.
**Oh, and if you found this review by search engine, when you discover it again on Amazon it is me posting it. It hasn’t been copied and pasted off here by a stranger, I post my reviews on Amazon as ‘Gentlegiantprog “Kingcrimsonprog.”’ So please don’t unhelpful-vote it because you thought it was stolen from me.**
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