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The Last

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Album Review

After the band reformed in the late '90s, Better Youth Organization began releasing both new and reissued albums from Leatherface to popular and critical acclaim. The first reissue was their first album, Cherry Knowle, which demonstrated a band trying to form a musical force by melding elements from Motorhead and Hüsker Dü, usually to rather bland punk metallic success. The second reissue from BYO is the final album by Leatherface in the band's first incarnation; recorded in December 1993 within a month or two of their initial breakup, the album is appropriately called The Last. The original release had only eight tracks, ending up with "Ba Ba Ba Ba Boo," Frankie Stubbs' goofy send-up of early Tom Waits. The original album provided some of the best substance for a comparision to Hüsker Dü; note the seventh track, "Winsome, Losesome," sung by drummer Andrew Laing with a clearer and slightly higher-register voice than the usual gruff and hoarse-voiced lead man Stubbs. Every other track of the original eight album songs are damned good, from "Little White God" on. "Daylight Comes" is the highlight, performed with onrushing speed and capped off by Laing's frenzied use of the double bass pedal. On the other side of the reissue are eight additional songs recorded without the other guitarist, Dickie Hammond, and swapping Chris Mackintosh for Laing behind the drums. Recorded in June 1994 in France, these additional tracks add little to the legacy of Leatherface, providing little else than uninspired B-side material and coming close to making a caricature of the band's sound, almost harking back to their mediocre punk metal first album. After The Last, the members of Leatherface went their separate ways, before bassist Andy Crighton's suicide in 1998 brought the surviving group back together to record both a split LP with Hot Water Music and the full-length Horsebox, which would prove to be some of the greatest music they'd ever made.


Formed: Sunderland, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s

England's Leatherface are a rare treasure in contemporary music -- a good old-fashioned punk rock band who are neither near-sighted nor necrophiles. But, boy, do they take some getting used to. Frankie Norman Warsaw Stubbs's voice -- well, to call it untutored would be kind. Yet once you get used to it, it's as affecting as, say, Bob Mould's or Jake Burns (Stiff Little Fingers). Formed in Sunderland, Tyne & Wear in the late '80s, taking their name from the central masked character in cult classic...
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The Last, Leatherface
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