Record Review: Debut EP from Providence’s lastself Evokes New Wave Sounds

Reverb, riffs, and a steady beat are hallmarks of three-song release


With the feel of a dusted-off record, the eponymous debut EP from Providence alt/indie rockers lastself is right at home in a late-’70s and early new wave-’80s vibe and flair. The heavily reverbed, dreamy, extended intro to “Past Lives” immediately captures the tone and mood with a moderate-tempo, spy-movie-esque single bass note thump that sounds like a road trip through the desert leading into the verses, like the music was written to invoke an ambient feel.

“Mood and tone come first, for sure. In fact, the band’s sound started with the guitar tone,” says guitarist Mike Leone. “I wrote some riffs around a clear, reverb-heavy sound, then brought in Gary Harrison (bass) and Dan Guedes (drums) to develop the core riffs and tones you hear on this recording. Soon after, we brought in Piera Leone (keys, vocals) to add layers.” Leone explains that the band’s sound grew organically from there. “I recorded guitar/vocal demos of the songs, shared them with the band, and I think we all knew where we wanted to go. The lyrics come at the very end of the process. Sometimes we try to add ideas and imagery to evoke a sort of sad-but-uplifting feeling.”

The lastself EP structures itself around memorable tones and melodic lines that stick around just as much as mantra-esque vocal repetitions. “One in Two” captures the careful introduction of a John Hughes film with that clean, catchy riff that seems like it could be going on for one minute or 30, and never run out of juice.

“It’s funny,” Leone says. “I write way more riffs than we actually end up using in songs, so I think it’s a matter of coming up with a lot of stuff and finding the small percentage that might be memorable. You might find a memorable riff that you can sing in your head, but sometimes, like with ‘One in Two,’ it’s more of a groove, or a chordal thing, than a melodic riff. Most of our songs are focused on a vocal melody, so to us, a good riff has to be something that complements the vocals without taking away from them, while being memorable in its own right.”

Speaking for lastself, Leone says, “for us, melody and the mood are always the focal points of the songs. ‘See You Again’ has a long instrumental section in the middle with some improvisation in there, but for the most part, it’s pretty tight to the measure.” He notes that live shows are pretty true to the recordings, “with a few small surprises thrown in.” Find lastself on streaming platforms, available for purchase on



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