A lone rider disappears into the sunset, his long shadow pointing eerily back from the haze. An aging surfer yearns for one last wave as a metaphor for lost youth. You provide the pictures. The Lost Patrol already have the soundtrack. The existential collection, if you like. Lonesome Sky.
What becomes clear listening to The Lost Patrol is that they're on the wrong coast. They are west coast. They are Western. They are Hollywood, and they are Mulholland Drive. If we were playing guessing games, New York would be pretty far down the list. Instead we're playing wicked games! Lost they may be, but I think they're exactly where they want to be.
It begins innocently enough. Cup At My Krater is almost busked. It's
up-tempo too, like a cheerful version of Tears For Fears Mad World,
before they layer on the keys and strings. After that, things get twangy, but
don't turn that dial. The Lost Patrol have a secret weapon in their saddlebag
that'll have you playing hopscotch in a prairie, wearing a dress, before you
can say Duane Eddy. Guaranteed. Step forward Danielle Kimak Stauss.
What a voice! And yet it arrives so unexpectedly. The ambience created by
The Lost Patrol's music had me preparing for a gravel-voiced troubadour. Think
Tindersticks, Madrugada, etc. Oh no sir, Danielle has other ideas. Hers is
a rich, emotive, and gracefully feminine vocal. I am amazed by the clarity
and the range displayed by a so-called 'little known' act. Plus she has that
rare gift of sounding beautiful without resorting to any tease. (Mazzy Star,
While no one would dispute Stauss has a fabulous voice, what I feel could
elevate her to greatness status is her sense of phrasing. Sinead O'Connor had
Gibbons, Liz Frazer too: a love
of words themselves and the different ways to make them sound. "Kiss me like
we're in a movie," goes Lonesome Sky. I can't imagine those other
three luminaries singing it any better. Gorgeous vocals are only part of
the story though. The ammunition to this particular weapon comes in the form
of the Mosrite guitar. This eclectic range of guitars (now highly collectible)
lend the band their surf-western sound. Hugely cinematic, one listen to either Mayday, Stars
Collide, or the enthralling Velveteen, and we're transported into
a widescreen panorama.
Such emotive range then and such diversity. Few bands can make you weep one
moment and smile the next. Heaven Herein is more curvaceous than Garbage,
less throwaway than Curve. And Neon Red could be the sound of The
The performing Heartland at the Club Silencio. Nearing the end, don't be
surprised to see Tarantino and Lynch fighting over the use of Stars Collide in
their next film.
The Lost Patrol are Badalamenti meets Morricone. Blue hotels and ghost highways. To see them play live must be very special indeed.
"Won't you ride it on baby?"