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Last Days of April | Might as Well Live | review | alternative | Lollipop

Last Days of April

Might as Well Live (Bad Taste)
by Tim Den

The infallible Swedish institution returns with yet another bag of gold, continuing down the path first traversed by If You Lose It. With every album, Last Days of April have gotten less and less melodramatic, and Might as Well Live is no different. Guitarist/vocalist Karl Larsson is looking toward the likes of indie rock foundations such as Dinosaur Jr. more than ever - having learned to convey equal amounts of emotion using understated melodies and vocal delivery on If You Lose It - this time even conjuring up J Mascis' effortless, carefree guitar style. The result is an album somewhere between the best of early '90s AlterNation and Scandinavian heartbreak: Straight ahead rock tunes with mountains of melancholy staining the earth. In fact, Might as Well Live is Last Days of April's most "regular rock" record yet, what with drummer-on-loan Fredrik Granberg (of Randy) providing a pounding backbone and Larsson focusing on thick chords. But just cuz it's heartfelt don't mean it can't thrust: "Who's on the Phone?" and "Great White's Jaws" are best played loud, while "Hanging High" and "Melbourne" are the kind of songs that make you run into the springtime outside and celebrate the fuck outta life. Yup, Last Days of April always = life-affirming, uplifting anthems, Might as Well Live just gives it more balls (without taking away the tearjerking).

Of course, there are a few torch songs here too (opener "Lost and Found," "I Wish That You Would Mean a Lot Less to Me," "Come on Over"), but instead of coming off as Jimmy Eat World leftovers, Larsson makes 'em almost a modern reinterpretation of Motown classics. By repeating simple yet universal choruses and filling them with deceptively elementary lyrics, Larsson recalls the magic of the oldies that cannot be taken apart mechanically: Think "How Sweet it is (to Be Loved by You)," "Someday We'll Be Together," etc. Sometimes, you don't need to hide behind complicated metaphors, saying it like it is gets the point across much better.

So the story continues... With a practically flawless track record since birth, Last Days of April are poised to be remembered as one of the best bands of this decade.


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