Must Be A Mistake is a study in less-is-more-ism and quiet excellence. Listen to this accomplished debut from the Last Days of Elvis, just in time for their British Isles tour.
The first deity of the rock era bowed out in a blaze of indignity. An international idol hooked on prescription drugs, a sex symbol hankering after his ex-wife. The king of rock, reduced to a schoolyard joke about dying on the toilet.
+++Last Days of Elvis live Saturday 02.09 @ LoFi Lounge in Schokoladen, Mitte+++
So when Last Days of Elvis opens their debut album’s second track with, “I fell asleep in the middle of the punchline”, it sounds like several things – above all, a barely reverent nod to the man they’re named after. On a more literal level, it sounds a lot like Jim Morrissey.
Age of the anti-heroes
Must Be A Mistake channels ‘beta poet’ in a fashion that’s sure to appeal to Morrissey fans and ex-fans. Listeners looking for a more fashionable equivalent might prefer a comparison to Nick Cave – as might Last Days of Elvis themselves. Conceived in Ireland, born in Berlin, grey skies to grey streets, it’s no surprise that this male melancholy epidemic is the band’s best groove, just like their Antipodean inspiration.
With anti-heroic refrains like “What if I’ve got nothing to give?” – the exact opposite sentiment to the idolatry of Elvis’ era – the group strikes a chord. But they never strike too many: less-is-more-ism is the greatest virtue of the album’s core. After a busy opening track, they do away with the catchy hooks of modern festival rock and bare their soul in a series of unglamorous, straight-talking slow numbers. It’s unusual, brave and very effective.
Last Days of Elvis: A class act
Last Days of Elvis have plenty of style, but not groove: they’re more about well-pitched, no-frills rhythms with a delicate trim of electro ambience. This is also why the vocals are most magnetic on the downbeat tracks that form the spine of the album, bringing out the richness of his deep voice.
Sparse and saturated with meaning, Must Be A Mistake has something of what Mr. Presley lacked in his swansong. It’s not the stuff of celebrity, Cadillacs and screaming crowds. But look where that leaves you.