Last November - Over the Top or Under the Weather
Record Label: Southern Tracks Records
Release Date: March 11, 2008
The rock quartet, Last November makes fun rock with pop punk corners and melodic rock casings. Their sophomore release, Over the Top or Under the Weather, produced by Steven Haigler (As Tall As Lions, Brand New, The Pixies) is inflamed in gasoline-ranged fires that light up “Jesus had Breakfast in Bed,” and slow burning torches that balustrade the acoustic-rock tinged “Merry Christmas Little Match Girl.” And sometimes the band rips into a Jonas Brothers-estrian party pop blowout that pumps through “Uppers, Downers, & All Arounders.” This is an album that makes teens jump off of kitchen counters and swing from steel beams holding up the garage door. The songs penetrate listeners in a way that makes them believe they can fly and attempt to do things that the rational part of the mind would never dare to try.
The vocals of lead singer, Luke Pilgrim have a high register relatable to Rush’s Geddy Lee, and the consolidation of power rock rhythms by bassist Tyler Ayers and drummer Taylor Woodruff act as a springboard for the chord burns of guitarist and keyboards of Zach Baxter. Songs like “The Bumper Sticker Song” and “Sunday Afternoon” have a savory pop punk propulsion, and Pilgrim’s vocals slide right in with the rhythmic timing of the tunes. The splashing puddles made by the underlying keyboards on “Sunday Afternoon” add a classy texture and some playful fun. The racing momentum of “Jesus had Breakfast in Bed” has a nu-metal hammering and winded vocals that catch their breath along the buffed ridges of “New York Rain.” The gasps in Pilgrim’s vocals make the songs possible for audiences to sing along with him and grab onto the sails.
The broiling chords of “Hot and Cold” have a decent retro-rock flint, and the rhythmic grooves along the title track pave a trail of smoky soft rock vapors. “Butter Me Up” is shingled in rows of melodic rock pods, and the rushing flow of “I’m Not a Doctor but I Play One on TV” is set to a pop punk vector. Numbers like “Merry Christmas Little Match Girl” and “Seventeen at Three in the Morning” have a country-folk sway and show another side of Last November from their ice breakers of pop punk and power rock. The album is bookend in synth textured interludes that fumigate “Sunrise” in the opening and “Sunset” through the closing of the album.
The music is nicely packaged with banners of pop punk, power rock, melodic rock, and acoustic streamers. The songs mobilize the dare-devil in people and sometimes the lyrics do as well, like in the title track, “I’m either over the top or under the weather / Giving it my best shot or giving up all together.” The album is fun rock for the individual who likes to take chances.