Album review: "Lost to Memory"
By Mark Jenkins
Friday, May 18, 2012
Washingtonians may recognize some of the locations Last Tide visits in song; the local rock band’s “Lost to Memory” includes such titles as “White Oak” and “Florida Avenue.” But singer-guitarist Nate Frey isn’t drawn to such places for their everyday qualities. “We drove out to White Oak/In the middle of the night” are the first lines he sings on the album, and the subsequent tunes maintain the eerie, after-midnight feel.
On its previous album, released in 2009, Last Tide was a quartet with a keyboardist who sometimes sang. The band’s now a trio, with spare new material to suit its stripped-down personnel. The tempos are deliberate and the vocals detached, with both illuminated by intermittent lead-guitar fireworks. Even “Dust,” which temporarily adds guitarist Simon Cohen to the lineup, doesn’t fundamentally alter the group’s sound.
Last Tide describes its sound as “psychedelic,” and there are woozy moments in such tunes as “Reflection,” the album’s longest and slowest track. But the starkness of the sound, as well as the plainspoken quality of Frey’s lyrics and delivery, suggests the group is slowly shifting from British to Americana influences. Should the band ever add another member, don’t be surprised if it’s a steel-guitar player.