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Synth EP Review: "Staring At The Moon" by Last Survivor

Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.


Last Survivor’s EP Staring At The Moon explores the many moods and sounds that synths can create along with first-rate vocal performances and strong lyrics. There’s a sense of expression and emotion in the music that adds more depth to the EP.

“Staring At the Moon” opens on round, sparkling synths that flicker through the music before a gently rising wash of caressing synths swells up to warp around the higher sounds. Solid bass and deep drums pulse slowly over the gliding synth background. Dave Beattie’s voice is powerfully emotive and full of aching expression as it carries the pained and dreamy melody.

A gritty sound twists below as elevated synths shimmer digitally. Rumbling bass weight emphasizes the mournful nature of the lead synth and the delicate, hurting vocals. Nasal, high synth sings a melody that arcs upwards in a melancholy line before we slip back into a swirling, flowing segment.

Dave Beattie’s vocals tremble with feeling and the dense bass depths growl far below to add support. The cascading lead synth melody cries out over the power moving below. The drums pulsate with strength and Dave Beattie’s voice soars out and we end on fragile synth fade.

Powerful emotions of loss and longing fill this song. The narrator talks about the fleeting presence of the song’s subject and asks plaintively, “Why’d you leave us so soon?” Our narrator aches with loneliness for the missing person. The lyrics paint a clear image as the narrator talks of how they’ll “pack up our telescope and head out to the coast” to scan the night sky “just searching for ghosts.”

Our storyteller talks of setting “our controls for the heart of the sun” so they’ll “lose our inhibitions until our time has come.” He talks about how life has passed by so quickly and adds “I’ll miss you so deeply, my friend.” The narrator calls out and tells the song’s subject to “spread your wings now” as the “reckoning” has started.

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As the song winds down, the narrator talks about how “out here in the night stars, we got nowhere left to run.”

Shining synth and rushing sonic sweep move into a volleying, tense synth line that flits between audio channels as “What It Could Have Been” kicks off. The devious, shadowy vocal melody is carried on Mark Baker’s distinctive, ear-catching voice.

The funky bass line adds a steady pulsation while the tight, bouncy synth volley goes on. There’s a decided disco feeling in the chorus as the funk-laden bass line moves below the continual volleying pulsation and above the minor key, writhing vocal melody.

The singer’s voices intertwine well and are full of expression as the hectic, raised synth pulse pushes the song on over smooth drums. Swirling synths flow out over the steady pulsation of drums and bass. The rushing, high synth keeps bouncing urgently while a gruff sound rises and the disco-like chorus adds more energy.

To me, this song’s about a relationship that’s fraught with pitfalls. Our narrator addresses the other person as he says “you think everything’s alright, you don’t care, think everything’s all nice.”

Other people are talking, however, and “they know it’s not right.” The narrator after having “seen what I have seen” has decided that “you’ll never know what could have been.”

There’s an ambivalence in the words that say “I don’t know about you, I don’t know about me. I don’t know about you and the things we do.” The narrator adds that the other person still doesn’t really care, but warns them that “the truth is comin’ out for you, and you know it” since there’s only a certain amount of time “playin’ on my mind.”

© 2022 Karl Magi

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