CD Review

The Last Dance - "Perfect"

By Marcus Pan

The Last DanceThe wait for this long-lasting southern California band is over as they have finally gotten out their latest full-length CD, Perfect. Perfect clearly shows how far TLD have come in the world of music and clearly showcases what a good collection of musicians can do with a bit of interest, help - and yes, a little bit of cash to spend. The album is superior in both production as well as musical arrangements to the previous work I've heard by this group and is a good addition to the collection of any goth-pop or synth-rock music lover.

The Last Dance have made quite a name for themselves since their forming in 1990 by original members Rick Joyce (guitars) and Jeff Diehm (vocals). Joining them is Peter Gorritz (bass), Robert Schott (keys) and "Lucky" Ivan D. (drums). Prior to releasing Perfect, their fourth CD release, they've also provided us with Staring At The Sky (1998) (reviewed in Legends #93), Fairytales (1996) and Tragedy (1995). In addition to these there are a few older cassette releases as well. They also have an impressive list of compilation appearances - especially in the "tribute" category. They've appeared on tributes to Dead Can Dance, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division and The Mission. They've also appeared on compilations over and above these - it really is an astounding list.

It all started in 1990 and was followed by their 1991 Everyone release on cassette. Having a synthy new-wave or goth-pop style, The Last Dance permeate this with a darker and moodier countenance. This is leant to much by a droning low bass sound which has that poppy kind of bounce to them - just a little touch of slap. It's quite hard to do, really. The band attempts to give each player and instrument their own place to step forward without an egotistical sound. Guitars are there when you need them to provide a high-pitched solo when necessary - but not all the time. Keyboards have a comfortable opening in a few songs such as Winter and The Haunting. But unlike most bands, other instruments will open other songs, like the guitars on Without Words and the closing track 10. The drums are well done and comfortable with all the other instruments.

Highlights of Perfect, at least for me, include the opening track, Parade. Peter's bass line is superb and the guitars come in loud and with a razor sharp edge on them. This is where you, for the first time (well, it is the first track…) realize how far TLD have come in how well they sound together. The "tightness" of the sound and arrangements is excellent. Again on track 2, with Regret, Peter's slap-style bass line kicks much ass. Getting a bit more electronic-like and giving you a place to dance, Infinite is a fine new-wave style song hearkening back to the 80s. Robert's opening synths to the nominal track, Perfect, are wonderfully done and arranged. This is another good song to dance to with a comfortable rhythm and synth-pop flare.

Only one other track I'd like to mention - and that's not to say that the others here, Lost, Winter, (For Now) Goodbye and The Haunting aren't worthy of mention - I just want to leave something for you to look forward to when you pick up your copy you understand. The other track is the excellent ballad, Without Words. I actually read a review where somebody stated that Jeff was a terrible singer. Now don't take that to heart - it was Industrial Nation. But if there is any doubt in your mind about whether or not Jeff can carry a tune, listen here. He's quite good here with a strong male voice in the baritone range. It carries well, doesn't fall flat nor go sharp. No, the man doesn't have the range of three octaves…but he is quite good enough for the music he creates. He knows his limitations and instead of trying to do what he knows he can't TLD write their music to make sure that each of their members, vocalist included, can stay within the realm of their best.

Now I can't say that Perfect is as the name says. But I can tell you that The Last Dance have risen to the challenge. Studio production is excellent. Musical arrangements are tight and controlled. All instruments have their time. From synth-pop dance flares to meaningful and deep touching ballads - The Last Dance have put out their best work yet.

Contact Information:
Post: The Last Dance / Mystine Records, P.O. Box 9685, Fountain Valley, CA, 92728-9685
Phone: (714) 775-4438
Fax: (714) 775-4421