The Last: Look Again (Backlash) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, February 29th, 2024  

The Last

Look Again


Apr 07, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

L.A. Explosion, the 1979 debut album from Los Angeles’ The Last, was a remarkable blend of chiming guitars, Beatles-esque melodies, sparkling harmonies, and just a dash of something more dangerous, more punk. However, a year later the band imploded amidst frustration in recording its sophomore album. Now, 40 years later, that album finally sees a proper release.

Look Again is a bit of an enigma. Sometimes it presents itself as somehow splitting the difference between The Grass Roots and This Year’s Model. But overall, the album, which should have come out in 1980, skews more toward New Wave than its ’60s-leaning predecessor. “Snake in the Grass” is a keyboard-led raver sung with punk rock snarl, and “Difference” is gloriously shambolic power pop. But in contrast, “Obsession” is full of ringing guitars and, yes indeed, flute.

Despite a lack of record label support, the band made quite a name for itself locally at the time, as the liner notes to Look Again attest to with testimonials written by the likes of Keith Morris, Jane Wiedlin, Bill Stevenson, Mike Watt, Steve Wynn, and Jason Falkner, among others.

Listening to Look Again confirms what those who experienced the band in real time testify. The Last could have (and should have) been huge. But as frontman Joe Nolte says in the liner notes, “…we would still be has-beens by now.” (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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