If you ask hip indie bloggers what today’s power pop sounds like, you’ll likely get Army Navy as the response. Lead singer Justin Kennedy belts out the opening track of The Last Place, “Last Legs,” and is accompanied by catchy riffs and a solid beat as he states, “The the place I want to be is in my head…” Even better is the stellar “Ode to Janice Melt” where Kennedy talks about his affair with a married celebrity. The band’s sound is reminiscent of a mixture of Teenage Fanclub, Pulp and Belle & Sebastian with an easygoing bounce in each track’s rhythm. “The Long Goodbye” and “Ex-Electric” both share solid songwriting and musicianship.
Not a single note of filler; especially impressive is “Feathered” with its buzzing guitar lead rhythms and layered melodies. The relaxed strums of “Wonderland to Waterloo” highlight Kennedy’s wistful vocals, which fall somewhere between Morrisey and Paul Heaton (Housemartins). “I Think It’s Gonna Happen” flirts with a punk beat structure, but stays in pop territory. The album closes on a strong note with the six-minute mid-tempo “Pastoral.”
The band feels more at ease here than with its debut and the album is worth more than a cursory listen. Fans of both jangly REM style and the aforementioned Brit-pop bands will cherish this new release.