Buddha on the Moon

The Last Autumn Day

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Following on nicely from the Stratospheric album -- and indeed, the first song on this release is called just that -- The Last Autumn Day is a touch quieter, though in respects that's really a matter of degrees than anything else. What really counts is Kahng's continuing abilities to work with his various U.K.-directed roots to create attractive, desperately lovely music that redefines melancholic indie pop with just enough psychedelic zone-out. That's what makes a song like "Providence" so lovely, for instance, a long, slow slide that could almost be an early Slowdive guitar line -- but at even less tempo -- made to serve as background for Kahng's gently sung ruminations and other instrumental touches. The nod to My Bloody Valentine's descending crunch on "Ordinary Sky" -- again, more in the background than anything else -- also shows the good range Kahng has. Again working mostly on his own, aside from some extra bass work here and there and backing female vocals on a great cover of Nick Drake's "Which Will," Kahng's work makes for a great reason why the home-recording revolution of the late 20th century was a good thing. The real highlight is the mostly acoustic "The Esplanade," a lengthy and love-drunk evocation of a seaside setting that's quietly breathtaking. Sometime co-producer Warren Defever works on four songs, and his ear for space in the arrangements, sudden starts and stops, clearer and stronger vocals above the music can certainly be heard on songs like "Crepe Paper Airplane" and the almost epic "Butterfly Collector." "Glider" is the sharpest of the bunch, thanks to a careful sense of drama throughout, a last blasting feedback charge and then a brief vocal/musical coda the late Beatles would have killed for. None of Defever's work detracts from the other songs, though -- a bit of variety without tipping things over entirely.

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