The Last Conspirators Hold That Thought Forever
(2016, Driving Rain Music)
For nearly a decade on the regional music scene, the sole constant in the Last Conspirators' lineup has been front man Tim Livingston. Active at ground zero of the Albany punk rock scene of the early 1980s, Livingston has carried on writing and singing heart-on-the-sleeve rebel music in the intervening decades. On this release, the band's fourth, Livingston shares the songwriting responsibilities with Poughkeepsie native Nick Bisanz (guitar, bass, vocals). Abetted by the rhythm section of Mike Grundy (bass) and Ken Marchesani (drums), this latest batch of songs expands the band's sound palette. A pounding hard rock vein infuses the swaggering "Blow Away the Sky," with Livingston's defiant vocals punctuated by the reverbed riffs and arpeggios emanating from Bisanz's guitar.
In the past, the Last Cons' music has often grappled with societal injustice and malaise. In contrast, the songs on Hold That Thought Forever, while retaining the same focused commitment, are much more about the politics of the heart. The shimmering psychedelic drone of "1302" has a wired intensity, highlighted by hooky keyboard flourishes and a forward-looking lyrical theme. "I left the past behind the moment I shut the door / I knew from that point on didn't need it anymore," sings Livingston. The brooding "Addiction" is built on a skeletal riff, smoldering vocal, and a watery, Claptonesque guitar solo. While the band doesn't renounce its previous sound quite so adamantly, the record feels like an exciting step into the future.