It's not often you come across a crowdfunded album about the end of the world as we know it. Fortunately Gavin Chappell-Bates has not tried to set up his own Doomsday Cult with his follow up to 2016's We Are The Ones. Starting with the thought, "What would you do if you were the last person alive when the world as we know it ends?" Chappell-Bates tells the tale of the cycle of life and what it means for a person, the human race, our planet, and the wider universe.
Aptly the album kicks off in light fashion, with a somewhat optimistic air. The Philosopher is an irrepressibly upbeat slice of folk-pop, and Lovely Day is certainly cut from the same cloth, with a catchy feel-good chorus. Inevitably given its deep and meaningful origin, the album does get a little darker after the Manic Street Preachersesque Young Lovers. Coming in at the half way point, Bad Faith/Good Faith is an indie-dance-rock number inspired by Jean-Paul Sartre, which is not a sentence one often gets to write. Do What You Like has its roots in Chappell-Bates' conversion to veganism, and questions our relationship with animals and nature.
With tongue firmly pressed into cheek, the title track covers that universal musical theme of a zombie apocalypse. Strangely for a song covering the end of existence as we know it, it's quite a jaunty track with just a touch of The Beachboys about it. The Sanctuary of Stars is arguably the highlight of the album, a gentle string-led track which drifts you along on the journey back to where it all began. The album finishes on a rockier note with the excellent This Is It, an anthem with shades of the Manics, Feeder, and Muse.
The Last One is a wonderfully crafted album, full of strong tracks worthy of repeated listens. There's a lot of variety on display, with Gavin Chappell-Bates showing impressive range. There is depth to be found throughout, but it comes wrapped up in accessible melodies that will lift your soul even as the lyrics take root in your brain. Let's hope that this isn't The Last One that Chappell-Bates releases.
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