::The Lost Patrol::



cd reviews - October 10, 2008
Russ Elliot
Midnight Matinée

5 Stars

The Lost Patrol are back, now fronted by their new singer Mollie Israel. Steven Masucci (all guitars, snyths, lap steel, bass, programming) and Michael Williams (12-string acoustics, keyboards, vocals) complete the lineup. The downstate New York band's former vocalist Danielle Kimak Stauss left for personal reasons shortly after the band's 2007 release of Launch and Landing. After a six month hiatus and diligent search by the remaining band members, Mollie Israel was selected to be the new lead vocalist. The first serving from the new lineup is the ten-track independently released album entitled Midnight Matinée (The Lost Patrol (USA), 2008).

The Lost Patrol's original sound evolved from their primarily instrumental (and very rare) debut EP entitled Return of the Reverb-O-Rangers (1999). The group's guitar work is reminscent of The Shadows. With one track by vocalist Gail Buchanan who also toured with the band during that era, the debut EP clearly set the reverb-centric electric guitar texture for the band's full length offerings.

The Lost Patrol began to emphasize female vocal-fronted tracks when Danielle Stauss joined in 2000. About the band's longtime vocalist, one critic wrote, "Danielle's voice summons the coolness of Siouxie roaming through a little long lost Grace Slick spaciness and brought back down to earth with a touch of Ronnie Spector's splendor." Today, Mollie Israel's voice, different but no less powerful than Danielle's, works well with the guitars. Her sound, power and range can be favorably compared to the stunning Canadian singer Jody Quine (Balligomingo, Sleepthief, Viia).

While the loss of a longtime lead singer might devastate some bands, the addition of Mollie Israel appears to have given creative inspiration to The Lost Patrol. Guitars still shimmer with almost endless reverb, but the individual songs clearly demonstrate more variety in construction, both instrumentally and vocally.

All but the debut EP and second EP Scattered, Smothered & Covered (2002) remain available both in digital and physical formats. The band's other great titles include: Creepy Cool (2000), Off Like A Prom Dress (2003), High Noon (2004), Lonesome Sky (2005) and Launch and Landing (2007).

A powerful rock ballad entitled "On The Run" opens The Lost Patrol's new album. The new singer's power is immediately evident but further enhanced with reverb to soar above the electric guitars. Additional keyboard parts enhance the sound on "Silver City Sunset." Album standout "Homecoming," prepared in the upbeat and rocking style similar to the band's earlier work continues to showcase Mollie's vocal range and energy with an everlasting melody. "Serenade" is similarly constructed, with only the raunchiness of the guitars keeping the track out of pop territory. In contrast to the upbeat numbers, the album also offers delightful and softly delivered electric guitar-backed ballads "Blue Lullabies," "Fades From View" and the stunning track "Distance." Keyboard washes effectively highlight the upper end of Mollie's range.

In addition to the reverb rich electric guitar textures, the artists draw on further effects and keyboards across several intros and outros. We also appreciated the production of vocal harmonies on tracks "Fades From View" and "Colours Turn Grey." Mollie's voice has the power not to 'require' the layering, but it adds texture and additional strength to the sound of these tracks. Almost gothic textured solo and harmony vocal parts soars above instrumentals in the greatly appreciated stadium rocker "The Fallen." The album concludes with standout "Jukebox On The Moon." An upbeat and 60s generation rocker, the memorable and well arranged pop-style track also showcases Mollie's stunning vocal talent.

With Midnight Matinée, The Lost Patrol continue to stretch and grow. They love reverb. In addition to their electric guitar power and strong rhythm section, the band demonstrate virtuousity in style and sound. Mollie Israel's power and range provide an excellent addition to the ensemble. While we would have appreciated a longer album, it is an excellent effort for the half year taken to produce it. The album is available from the band's webstore and at live performances. The new lineup are already gaining a strong following in their supporting tour. The Lost Patrol's future is brightening every day.






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