Fred Deakin: The Lasters review – cringeworthy return of Lemon Jelly man

Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 05:00

   
The Lasters are the final family on Earth, which is on the verge of extinction  

Album:
Fred Deakin Presents The Lasters

Artist:
Fred Deakin

Label:
Impotent Fury (via Kickstarter)

Genre:
Soundtrack

Now the MD/CEO of Fred & Company (a design studio with expertise in interactive and educational projects) and professor of interactive digital arts at the University of the Arts London, Fred Deakin was once a member of Lemon Jelly, a Mercury Music and Brit Awards nominated duo that specialised in especially English ambient pop music, and which are on hiatus long enough to be an almost forgotten fond memory.

Deakin, however, has emerged to release a debut solo double album, the title of which is aptly submitted with a theatrical flourish. We say “aptly” because this is a dystopian sci-fi concept work – the Lasters are the final family on Earth, which is on the verge of extinction as climate crisis and nuclear disaster synchronise – set firmly in the mould of Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds.

The yardstick for success, then, depends on whether or not you’re into dystopian sci-fi concepts represented through spoken word and song. It’s something of a challenge, however, when the theatrical elements are varying shades of cringeworthy and when many of the songs give tepid musical theatre a good run for their money.

Widespread embarrassment is saved via some superb woozy pop tunes (I Remember, Through the Veil, The End of the World), but ultimately the album is scuppered by a naive – if worthwhile – narrative and patience-sapping length.