Last Man on Earth
(Innocent 12th Street, 2006)

The Feathermerchants are back with a new CD, Last Man on Earth, the band's third full-length CD and the second with lead singer Shannon Kennedy. The other members of the band on this CD include founder and guitar player Pete Veru, guitarist Jim Chapdelaine, bass player Jay Wiggins and drummer Jon Peckman.

The first item of note with the new CD is that the music takes another step away from folk-rock. As I mentioned in my review of Unarmed Against the Dark, the music is more rock than folk. This is alternative, college-radio fare. The band does add a new twist on the second track, "Change My Night," with a bit of a jazzy, bluesy feel. It is a nice change of pace from the other nine tracks. The lyrics are light and repetitive. The singer is hoping someone "oh so riveting" will come along and shake up her evening.

"Finish Last" is about getting dumped for another. As Shannon sings, "all the nice boys and girls finish last." Despite the sad topic, the melody will still make you sway. Again, the lyrics are rather shallow and, in this case, definitely negative. The singer does not get what she wants. Many of the tracks on this CD are not as deep, in my opinion, as the group's previous works. That does not mean this is a bad album. Music doesn't always have to make you think.

One thing the Feathermerchants do well is covers. On Last Man on Earth, a cover of the Church's "Under the Milky Way" is one of my favorite tracks. I have liked Shannon's vocals since I first heard her sing, and she adds something special to this song. Like the original, this version is quite melancholic. The tempo is a little slower starting out, but eventually picks up. It is a great tribute to a wonderful song.

Last Man on Earth is not a bad CD. Several tracks are quite good. But it does not quite rank up as high as their prior release, Unarmed Against the Dark. The playing is a little tighter, the music a little darker. I like it. I just was not grabbed immediately like I was with the prior CD -- although I am warming up a little more each time I play it.

by Wil Owen
7 April 2007

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