Woe – Last Stop

3 out of 5

Label: Some Records

Produced by: Woe

The fallen-down dude on the cover; the band name; the title: it’s all rather appropriate.  The instrumental skronk of Woe’s Last Stop offers up a sensation of – and this makes it sound worse than it is – trying and failing; or putting forth a final effort as the train clicks through its final few destinations, running out of steam as you get to the true end of the line.

Last Stop starts in disarray, with the clatter of horns and guitar as the group panics to get their shit together; but damn do they succeed on the down and dirty no-wave stomp of Reason Gets Paid Back, an undiscovered classic of anti-rock.  The edged aggression of this is peeled back for the slightly boppier Minutes To Go… and then gets distilled even more on some of the more wandering tracks to come.  Mid-album Shake overlays a haze of jazzy mystery; a deliciously spooky track of reverb.  But then the group loses their muster again, unsure how to gather their resources into “song” until, thankfully, the penultimate White Stick.

These more open-ended moments on the album are not without value, but they overtake the disc when that kickoff track promises something quite different.

Because of the tension downslide of the sequencing, Last Stop actually makes for a good repeat listen, but those moments when the group finds their sound are so damned promising you can’t help but wish something something extend the metaphor so that the train goes past its final destination.