Oh yeah, Our Last Night do record their own material, don’t they? It’s just that it’s been so long since they’ve released anything that hasn’t been a cover that it’s become easy to wonder whether this band is really all that worthwhile. Because let’s face it, none of their covers have been all that impactful on a large scale, not when the Punk Goes series has pretty much commodified scene gimmickry in that vein and Our Last Night are only deepening the sinkhole with each contribution. But would anyone really care about this band if it wasn’t for the covers? As far as this sort of post-hardcore goes, they’ve typically been above average, but even by those standards, that doesn’t amount to a whole lot, and given that this album has dropped relatively without warning can make it easy to presume that original material is more of a formality these days than anything else.
And after listening to Let Light Overcome, the most pertinent question is less concerned with how good it is and more how necessary. Just from a general overview it doesn’t seem like the most rigorous, intensive creation ever – eight songs clocking in a under half an hour will give that impression – but it’s frankly astounding how much Our Last Night refuse to differentiate themselves from so many other B- and C-tier metalcore and post-hardcore bands in the same position as them. Put it this way: if someone who knew nothing about this band’s extensive catalogue of covers found this album, would it entice them to check out more? Probably not, because this feels like the work of a band using their existing work as a boon in order to get away with this sort of bland, uninteresting material, and when it so often seems like they’d much rather be doing more covers than an original album, what’s the point in this even existing?
That feels like the case across the board, too, as Let Light Overcome never feels like something designed to push a band forward, but more a vain attempt at staying relevant long enough for Our Last Night to make it to the next string of covers. That’s not to say its awful – Trevor Wentworth has a good voice for this cleaner, more explicitly melodic brand of metalcore, and when made as anthemic as possible on a track like Soul Speak, it does connect – but there’s hardly anything to distinguish them from the scores of bands in the exact same vein trying to tap into this exact same well. It’s fairly evident from the opening track Demons with its clean, understated verses with crystalline guitars and pulsing synths before a heavier chorus, but when that’s become such a default formula, it’s hard to get excited by it to any extent. That’s more or less the case for the entire album; it’s definitely well-produced with just enough cleanliness to not totally drown out any heavier presence (probably the only area where Our Last Night do have the leg up above their contemporaries), but it’s presented in such a featureless, nondescript way that it rarely has any sort of impact. The Leap with its clear AutoTune and Castle In The Sky’s attempt at EDM-style vocal manipulation feel like shameless ploys to nestle into the safety of metalcore’s overworked doldrums, and while it’s easy to attribute these exact features to numerous other bands in the scene, the fact that Our Last Night believe their contributions to such an unattractive sound are actually warranted or needed might be even more egregious. And what is there to really say about the writing? It’s the same boring, deliberately underweight spiel about inner struggle and darkness that’s been around for years at this point, as is no less vague or flavourless than any that’s come before it.
Honestly, it feels like even talking about an album like this is a waste of time, not because it’s necessarily awful (in the grand scheme of things, Our Last Night are about as middle-of-the-road as it comes), but because there’s nothing even remotely interesting to say. It’s another metalcore album that thinks that peddling the same clichés is a suitable way to get by, only this time from a band who’ve clearly got no interest in doing this and see it as more of a necessity than anything else. At this point, Our Last Night should probably just stick exclusively to their covers; Let Light Overcome makes it clear that they’re as barren of ideas as any one of their peers, and at least with covers, they can hide that fact a bit more easily.
For fans of: The Word Alive, blessthefall, We Came As Romans
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Let Light Overcome’ by Our Last Night is out now.