Review: Last Laugh, Last Laugh (Big Mouth, 2005)

Here's the debut "full-length" (well, 17 tracks in 17 minutes anyway) from this smartass Finnish hardcore band that continues in the vein of their demo with a number of relatively quick tracks of in your face material that draws as much from old school hardcore as it does from crossover thrash, with a few very loose hints at street punk tossed in for good measure. Only one song passes the two-minute mark, so these dudes pretty much crank 'em out and call it a day. Several of the songs from the demo appear here in re-recorded form, but the bulk of the disc is all new; and among the standouts, "Just Another Loser" amps up the speed and keeps things straight to the point, "Passing Through" opens with a slower intro before making a classic run for blasting early-80's hardcore, "What Would Jesus Do?" is a 27-second crossover influenced burst, "Hitler Was a Nazi" and "Told You Once" stand apart as a little heavier in their use of palm-muting, "More of the Same" is a little catchier than the other tracks and sort of has an old school hardcore flavor with some oi-ish gang vocals during the chorus (a common tactic in a number of these songs), "Scapegoats" similarly comes across as catchier yet barely heavier, etc. Really the only slight setback here is that the production is too thin for what they're doing. I can't hear a single note of bass guitar throughout the entire CD, the drums are a little lacking in oomph, and the guitars are crisp and well controlled but lack any real low-end crunch. It sounds nice and clear, and for the most part they're alright, but... the heaviness that they need just isn't there. They'd probably be all set if they just turned the bass up so that it was actually audible, but whatever the case, they need to get those basslines present and take measures to get a little extra punch going. The layout's all done in black and white and keeps it pretty simple and consistent. All of the lyrics are included and take the blunt road at attacking things that piss these guys off, as expressed by a number of no bullshit song titles like "Talk Shit Get Hit". Of course there's a lot of exaggerated sarcasm involved, but I'm sure these guys piss off plenty of people in the hardcore scene just by having bad attitudes, ha, ha! But Last Laugh definitely has their own sound going that stands aside from most of the other Finnish bands in these particular niches of hardcore, so they definitely add some color to Finland's already awesome scene. I've liked everything these guys have done to date, and this record's really close to reaching the next level, they're just not quite there yet. Those who are way into pissed off hardcore with a sense of humor that's more about having fun and telling it like it is should look into this one, though.

[Big Mouth]
Running time - 16:52, Tracks: 17
[Notable tracks: Just Another Loser, Hitler Was a Nazi, What Would Jesus Do?, More of the Same, Scapegoats]
Last Laugh -