?The Last Holy Writer? is the sixth album from this long-lasting English band. Half of it is certainly quite good, but the other half is just plain bad. This whole album feels like the band wanted to be two different things, but really they should have left one half alone.
First, I should mention the positives about this album. In particular, I should talk about the one track that really stands out, which is ?Idyllwild.? It resembles a lot of mid-90s alternative up-tempo rockers, albeit good ones. The song is the type of infectious, jumpy tune that you can easily listen to ten times in row. This track and all of the better songs on the album stick to more conventional alternative guitar rock sounds and move along at a decent pace. The key to the absolute best songs (including ?Idyllwild?) is vocalist Beth Arzy. Her voice is a better fit for the music than songwriter Robert Wratten?s, but unfortunately, Arzy only takes the lead three times out of twelve.
I think the main problem of ?The Last Holy Writer? is the jarring jump in style from track to track. The brief flashes of upbeat brilliance mentioned above are quickly followed by dour-sounding Cure and New Order knock-offs. This ebb and flow of momentum and quality between songs is a buzzkill for the entire album, which is truly unfortunate, given what could be missed. 5/10 -- Matt Blackall (15 May, 2007)