The Lost Patrol (TLP) are a band that EvilSponge
has championed for years. Initially supportive, we quickly
found our appreciation turning to amazement as the New Yorkers
dazzled in places during their last album, Lonesome Sky.
Now with the arrival of their fifth (?) long player comes vindication
for the handful of us contributors who ply our trade at Sponge
HQ. We were right. These guys WERE capable of greatness. Scratch "capable",
TLP just released Greatness - Launch and Landing.
Yet with their surf-twang guitars and Goddess vocalist, where
do TLP fit in today's music scene? Answer - nowhere. I can't
think of another band who sounds like them. Mazzy Star? Julie
Twins? All close, but no cigarillo I'm afraid. (Brendan's
Note: And all in a state of semi-retirement anyway!) How
refreshing then, to witness a band pursuing their own unique
sound, ignoring all trends and bandwagons that spring up around
Talk to any obsessive music fan, any lover of live music or
simply your local musician and they'll all tell you the same
thing. There are a great many very good bands. Every town from
East Coast to West will have a fantastic band and wonderful
musicians. Sometimes the difference between success and anonymity
can be so marginal, so fickle, that all acts with a modicum
of ambition are seeking that elusive angle (or should that
be Angel?) which could push them ahead of the pack. This is
why any number of groups would sell their own Grandmothers
for a singer like Danielle Kimak Stauss. Whatever anybody thinks
of TLP's breezy, cinematic style, surely few would contest
that Stauss merits consideration as one of the finest female
voices around? These seductive tones could turn male knees
to Slush Puppy at ten paces.
The record itself is their most prestigious yet by some margin. They showed
flashes of brilliance in the past, but here they manage to put everything together
to make one satisfying work. It's a nice title then, Launch and Landing,
suggesting that things are about to take off for the band. Take Me Away and Sirens are
both prime examples of TLP's trademark 'Mosrite' sound. Elsewhere, tracks like Only
Love and Venus Burlesque try something different with highly pleasing
results, the latter recalling Cocteau Twins classic cut, Musette and Drums.
The '4AD' effect is continued on Tears of the Sun, which I'd swear is
a dead ringer for The Hope Blister if not This Mortal Coil.
The only caveat is that the music of The Lost Patrol really calls for some investment from the listener. Precisely because they don't fit into any genre norms means that the expectation/fulfillment dynamic becomes unpredictable and personal to each individual. New listeners should not bother approaching from a skeptical viewpoint. Like a nine year old trying a foreign cuisine for the first time, it really doesn't help to be pressured or pushed. You'll only unlock the pleasures of TLP if your mind is open to their possibilities. You'll only love TLP if you love beauty, joy, and unashamedly heart-bursting songs.
"Only love will save you."