Released: April 2015
When the fuzzy, shaggy riff of new single Song For Robert announces Lost Dawn’s arrival, it’s immediately clear they are a band who are comfortable in their own skin and have achieved exactly the sound they want to.
From the woozy, bluesy guitars to frontman Stanley Duke’s laconic sneer, every aspect of Lost Dawn’s self-title debut brings to mind the sort of leaden trad-rock you’ve heard, beer-in-hand, playing at Summer festivals in mid-afternoon, or livening up a Friday night at your local pub.
Lost Dawn’s influences are clear, and the band name-checks the likes of Marc Bolan and The Doors in their press material. You can add the likes of Oasis, Ocean Colour Scene and mid 70’s Rolling Stones to this list but the Falmouth trio haven’t really seen fit to do anything with these influences other than regurgitate them. The sound is there and the attitude is there but more often than not, the songs fall short.
The best example of this pervading lack of substance is album low-point Talk About It which features the testingly inane chorus refrain of “Let’s talk about it. I don’t want to talk about it. Let’s talk about it. Talk about it.” Style and attitude are one thing but the devil is in the details – there is a pretty big difference between Oasis and Beady Eye after all.
And yet there is plenty of promise here and times where the band’s lived-in confidence really comes into its own. Breaking Bad might suffer from a desperate (and desperately late) title but the song itself is solid, while the blown-out slow burn of Darkest Night is convincingly tired and bummed-out. On album highlight Count On Me, Lost Dawn shamelessly embrace their Marc Bolan crush with a glam-rock stomper built on a driving riff that delivers big, dumb fun in spades. It’s a shame that tracks like these are the exception, rather than the rule.
Lost Dawn prove it’s possible for a band to tick all the right boxes and still come up short if their songs aren’t strong enough. At the moment they sound like a good covers band sneaking a few originals into their setlist – songs that never quite step out of the shadows of their influences. Here’s hoping next time they can better forge their own identity and deliver substance to back up their swagger.