[sic] Magazine

Last Harbour – Paler Cities

My murmuring darlings.

Manchester, so much not to have to answer for – multifaceted city of music, musical icons and musical secrets. From the latter category come Last Harbour, black suited and booted, ready to seduce us. No kinky afros here. Cigarettes and alcohol are of the Lucky Strike and bourbon variety. Yes folks we’re still awake in the wee early hours of the morning. Brooding melancholics of the world, unite and take over.

We first reviewed Last Harbour a year ago. (See Paul Lockets review via the link provided.) Actually Caul was the band’s eighth album. See what we mean by secret? Yet you need to know about this band. In K. Craig Last Harbour have unearthed another wonder baritone in the vein of Matt Berninger, Stuart Staples or, dare we say, (yes we dare, we’re [sic]) Ian Curtis. That’s as ‘Manchester’ as things get though, for Paler Cities is far more US centric, a cowboy Tindersticks if you will. The lead track positions us firmly beneath western skies. Urgent bass drives the song forward while Craig sings like a spectral Staples. Where Joy Division depicted dystopian cityscapes, Last Harbour merge the city into deserts and canyons. It’s as though Curtis put down his Ballard and picked up The Dark Tower.

Flip side ‘The Curved Road’ is evocative of Norwegian aces Madrugada, another nicotine stained wonder. As the chorus arrives I cannot help but think of Bowie’s comeback album The Next Day, and how it was received as a loose follow-up to his Berlin phase. ‘The Curved Road’ is equally effective.
From the bonus tracks, ‘A Better Man’ is more experimental with strings overlaying its recorded conversation. I then lost my heart to minimalist closing track ‘Witness’. “Your body steps into mine, one step at a time”. I’m literally hanging onto every word this guy says.

Paler Cities is an ultra cool EP for fans of iLiKETRAiNS, Gravenhurst and the aforementioned acts.

Southern gothic with a dusting of Northern frost.


7″ || Limited edition of 200 hand-numbered copies. Vinyl comes in a beautiful risograph printed sleeve with an additional postcard insert printed by Red Plate Press. Includes a download code for two additional, exclusive tracks, only available when purchasing the 7″.

Find out more.

Caul review