Album review: LAST GREAT DREAMERS – 13th Floor Renegades

Ray Records [Release date 13.04.18]

Last Great Dreamers first surfaced in the UK in the 90′s, previously going under the name Silveheart and split in 1997, coming back to life again in 2014 with original members Marc Valentine (vocals/guitar) and Slyder (lead guitar/vocals) involved still. They are joined, on this their second album since reforming, by bassist Steve Fielding and drummer Denley Slade.

Musically they love a bit of Cheap Trick, 70′s glam rock and a little rock ‘n’ roll of the Quireboys variety. They successfully punk, pop and rock in one glorious mix. Be it ‘No Sunshine’ which sounds like a punked up Supergrass, a riff-tastic beast, or the summery pop of ‘I Think It Like’. Then they have a musical diversion with a the laidback ’For Your Information’ with added mandolin (courtesy of producer Pete Brown – son of Joe and brother of Sam, a family with musical pedigree), nodding at the Kinks in passing.

‘Speed Of Light’ would have been a radio hit back in the day, whilst ‘Miles Away’ is another gentle tune. That song is the exact opposite of ‘Primitive Man’ which sees the band back in the punk/power pop with attitude mode.

Closer ‘Going Home’ sees the band extend to six minutes and it is a heartfelt song that closes with glorious harmonies. Last Great Dreamers have plenty of variety in their musical arsenal and would be an ideal tour companion for Eureka Machines and the Dowling Poole.

How this band flew under my musical radar is a mystery, however I am glad that is rectified and the album is highly recommended for fellow lovers of pop rock with a punk attitude. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

Slyder answered a few questions about the new album and their upcoming plans, along with recommending three albums by other artists…

Could you take us through the new album ’13th Floor Renegades’ – ideas behind some of the songs, recording process etc.

We started writing the album in May/June with Marc & I working independently as we normally do then got together for a writing session in July together to pool our ideas & then start adding to each other’s songs & developing them from there. We had 10 songs in development before we started with full band rehearsals to finally work on arrangements & during that time added one more.

I think all the songs have an individuality about them, some more than others & working with producer Pete Brown we really captured this especially on songs like For Your Information & Miles Away. Everything was recorded in an ‘old school’ way as in recording live drums & bass guitar with guitar & vocal guides. There’s no sampling or triggered sounds, everything is real. Also there is no click track on any of the tracks so we got the natural ebb & flow of the songs, this is testament to Denley’s brilliant timing!

Working with Pete on guitar & vocal arrangements was very rewarding with him getting the very best out of us plus learning lots of different techniques in these areas & going in directions we previously may not have.

There are certainly at least 5 or 6 single worthy songs on the album if not more, it’s an album of diversity with lots of nods to our heroes & influences but all straight from the heart.

Were you pleased with the reaction to your comeback album ‘Transmissions From Oblivion’?

Yes very, it seems such a long time ago now although it’s only 18 months or so old. I did listen to a few tracks from it recently & it’s still sounding great. We struggle live now to pick a set with so many songs we want to play & the fans want to hear but I guess most are from Renegades & Oblivion. The main thing about it was it was really the start of a new chapter for Last Great Dreamers being the first ‘all new’ material we had released since reforming. This was important for us not to be seen as a comeback band & to be relevant & vital in the 21st century. For the majority of our fans now Oblivion was the first album of ours that they heard.

Three albums (by other artists of course!) your fans should have in their collections and why…

There are so many so I will pick 3 quickly off the top of my head…

1.       Hanoi Rocks – Self Destruction Blues, could be my favourite Hanoi album, not sure, they are all good but I listened to this just this morning & there are some great songs on it. It’s quite raw & has great spirit about it, Andy McCoy is a great writer & guitarist & Mike Monroe a fantastic singer & front man & loved their image. Big influence on myself & Marc, we actually spent an evening in our accommodation when recording the album listening to this album & discovering we had a few favourite songs in common.

2.       Green Day – American Idiot, probably one of my favourite albums of all time, great concept, production, engaging from start to finish, full of light & shade, energy & emotion, not a duff song on it.

3.       Manic Street Preachers – Gold Against the Soul, despite having heard their first offering this was the first Manics album I got. I still regularly play this record & never tire of it. I love Roses in the Hospital & Drug Drug Druggy, brilliant lyrics, brilliant guitar playing & vocals, loads of emotion.

What made the band decide to get back together a few years ago and what have been the live highlights since reforming?

It was a series of coincidences & chance meetings but basically it seemed the time was right. Marc & I had met up again for the first time in 10 years, we had a jam together & chatted about old times & listened to some of our old recordings & the set about what we were going to do.

It’s been a great journey so far, some highlights would be our first rehearsal back in 2014, it was just fantastic to be playing the songs together again. We did a small warm up gig in front of a tiny audience made up of family & friends followed the next week by our reunion show, these were both really special.

Following that there have been many highlights but to name a few I would say the support tours we have done; our first with Cherie Currie in 2015 was amazing & a real adventure, it was her first time back in the UK since The Runaways in 1976 so a real special tour. Steelhouse Festival was our first big festival & good to be playing with The Darkness & Terrorvision. Our first HRHAOR & going straight into a 20 date tour with The Quireboys was also fantastic & very important for the band. Recording & releasing both our last two albums also huge highlights!

LGD were touted by Kerrang! and others back in the 90′s when you first arrived on the music scene. Why do you think looking back now the band didn’t become bigger? Did the changing musical times – grunge, Britpop etc. make it difficult for a power pop/rock band like LGD to make an impression?

I think probably lack of good management & budget for recording & promotion. Our debut was made on a tight budget, house engineer & no real producer. I don’t think we had an agent until 6 months after the release so we didn’t get out promoting it other than the pub & club circuit we were on until the following year.

Once we had got out of our record deal & with a new manager we were doing ok, we had adapted to the trends of Britpop which wasn’t alien to us, our music fitted right in with that. We actually got a decent record deal with a large independent lined up for 2 singles with a good budget for videos & major promo & advertising planned. Sadly at the last minute the deal fell through because financial issues with the company. After that we tried to pick up the pieces with the other interest we had had but the moment seemed to have passed for us. We tried to rebrand thinking LGD’s connections to the rock press etc. would deem us unfashionable with the new Britpop/indie scene but this just got us back where we started, doing the rounds in London venues & we eventually ran out of steam.

What have the band got planned live wise for the rest of the year?

We will keep promoting the new album, probably a 3rd single & video will be released at some point. We have a few supports slots with Dan Baird & Original Sin in June followed by our first trip to Norway for a few shows in July plus Cambridge Rock Festival then a few headline shows in the UK in August & HRH Sleaze in Sept & Planet Rockstock in Dec. There will probably be some other dates in the autumn & winter too.

Message for your fans…

Obviously a huge thank you to our fans for all their love & support, as an independent band having used Pledemusic on our last 2 album we just couldn’t do any of this without you! We hope to see you all at our shows & don’t forget to come & say hello afterwards!

On 16 December, David Randall presented a two hour special on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio reflecting the reviewer and popular choices for “Best of 2018″

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Power Plays w/c 4 February 2019

DEEVER Only Enemy (indie)
REVOLUTION HIGHWAY Sister Of The Devil (Grooveyard)
MALLEN Pull The Trigger (indie)
ROCK GODDESS Are You Ready (Bite You To Death Records)
RPWL What I Really Need (Gentle Art Of Music)

Featured Albums w/c 4 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 MIKAEL ERLANDSSON Capricorn Six (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 KANE ROBERTS The New Normal (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 THUNDER Please Remain Seated (BMG)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

EARTHPRAYER Nine Days (2011)

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