The Lost Cavalry is a six-piece group founded by Mark West, described here as formerly being 'the guitarist for indie favourites Fanfarlo', which is perhaps the only time anyone has described that band as favourites. Having been around since 2009, they have released their debut album, Three Cheers For The Undertaker , which claimed to be an album of alt. folk. What exactly it is supposed to be the alternative to remains unclear, as there is a real sense of deja vu here.
Many of the tunes on the album seem to follow the same generic blueprint - at first the song starts off slowly with perhaps one or two instruments. Next, the vocals of Mark West are added to the mix, a sincere baritone which whilst technically okay, is somewhat lacking in nuance and variety over the course of the album, and in some places is distractingly similar to those of Beirut’s Zach Condon. Over the course of the song, a wall of sound is constructed, with an 'everything including the kitchen sink' approach taken to instrumentation, before reaching its crescendo and reaching its half-hearted 'festival moment' - i.e the rousing part of the song which is tailor made to be chanted along to at outdoor gigs by inebriated revelers. With slight variations, almost every single song seems to follow this script, which begins to get tiring and trite over the course of the album’s 53-minute running time.
One of the major problems that Three Cheers For The Undertaker seems to have is in its editing, in that none appears to have taken place. Many of the songs are at least five minutes long, and one can only believe that some prudent cutting could have made the album more enjoyable. The dreary 'Telescope' drones on for two minutes longer than it has any right to, whilst the charming glockenspiel-led ‘Stars are Ripe’ - one of the better songs that The Lost Cavalry have on offer - could easily have been made better by making it three-quarters of its current length.
It’s not all bad news though, for as uninteresting as the album is, there are still a few decent tracks hidden beneath the averageness. ‘Snow City Radio’ has a nice melody running through it, whilst their understated album closer ‘Mono’, with its sampled beats and backwards loops, show that they are at least willing to take the occasional risk, even if it is one that Sigur Ros have been subtly doing for many years.
All in all, Three Cheers For The Undertaker is not a bad album. However, one could not in good faith call it a good album. If you are looking for a record which offers something new and exciting in a genre which has long since passed saturation point, then Three Cheers For The Undertaker will not live up to your expectations. If however, you’ve been told by your physician to stay away from The Leisure Society for fear of over stimulation, then The Lost Cavalry is exactly what the doctor ordered.
4Christopher McBride's Score