CD Review

The Last Dance - "Staring At The Sky"

by Marcus Pan

The Last DanceFormed in the early 90s, The Last Dance is the creative force of original members Rick Joynce (guitars) and Jeff Diehm (vocals). Joining them later is bassist Peter Gorritz, drummer Ivan D. and Robert Schott on keyboards. Having a standard 80's goth-pop influenced sound, they are on the verge of releasing their latest and, I'm assuming, their greatest album Perfect this coming winter. Their first full-length release in three years, Perfect is a long-awaited sequel to their previous full-length CD, Fairytales. Their latest available release from 1998, EP Staring At The Sky, has four remixes of one of their more popular songs - Do You Believe In Angels. One of the better goth-rock style songs I've heard in some time, might I add.

Staring at the SkyStaring At The Sky has its good moments. The highlight of this is the Angels single I've already mentioned. Of the versions here, the two that stand out are the Euro-Dance Mix which kicks off this EP and the Falling Star Mix. I can easily see myself enjoying any dance floor to the first version. It has a deep bass rhythm to it and the vocals of Jeff Diehm are excellent - as is notable throughout the rest of The Last Dance's work. There's the perfect amount of sliding-synth style within the Euro-Dance Mix and a good amount of beat-only breakdowns to keep any floor moving. The latter version, the Falling Star remix on track four, is nothing short of wonderful. It's a more ballad-based arrangement this time with a soothing atmosphere about it. The guitars, complements of Rick Joynce, and Robert's keyboards work great together. It moves slowly with an overpowering yet sublime arrangement. The work of these two gentlemen is also apparent in the CDs second track, a song called Flesh. They provide an excellent introduction to the song - but thereafter it does become a rather generic SOM-style dark-rock track. The same standard nature is within Mystery, the third track on Staring At The Sky as well.

The Last DanceOther versions of Do You Believe In Angels included on this EP are the Violet's Song-Piano and Screaming Kitty Mix. While the latter, which is used to close the album, is a decent rendition I must say that there is no need to repeat the song's chorus so many times at the end. Changing pitch and adding the occasional "yeah" only gives you leeway up to, say, four repetitions before becoming annoying. The piano version is sweet and personal-sounding - but with the others included here I don't think it was necessary. The other versions are good enough without this one added, but it is very different from the others at least. The Screaming Kitty Mix is very similar to the opening Euro-Dance Mix, so it is possible I just kind of got jaded by this one particular song by the time the fourth version of it was played out in near-succession.

I quite like Do You Believe In Angels. It's a damn good song and lends itself to a number of possibilities as has been portrayed here. Dance to it, make love to it or do whatever you like - it's an excellent piece. While the other tracks provided on Staring At The Sky are somewhat generic for the goth-pop 80's style as popularized by The Cure, Sisters Of Mercy, etc., they are good renditions of this style of music-making. But Angels is good enough in its own right to make me look forward to hearing what The Last Dance has in store for us in their long-awaited release, Perfect.

Contact Information:
Post: The Last Dance, PO Box 9685, Fountain Valley, CA, 92728-9685