Comprising musicians from the UK and India, this collection of track offers a rarely-tapped spin on the concept of the Asian fusion genre – Western rock and indie played by Eastern artists.
The instrumentation remains solid as the album meanders from track-to-track, and the influences from the West are apparent in the guitar riffs, organ swirls, saxophone phrases and drum patterns. Close your eyes and at points you’d think you were listening to a British beat combo meeting American funk masters.
There are, however, a few flaws to be found. Hegarty’s Mockney-esque vocals which are adopted in the title track, ‘Don’t Need No Sunshine’ and the Sham 69-a-like ‘Wrote A Book’ threaten to push the band in the direction of parody, are restrained for most of the album. His attempts at scowling vowels on ‘Crazy Situation’ also veer the track to a similar destination; however, its smooth saxophone introduction, hypnotic bassline and tender backing vocals – not to mention its subject – are truly redeeming characteristics.
Another personal niggle of ‘Last Hippie Standing’ is the sometimes juvenile lyrics which undermine the intricate rhythms. ‘Lucy Lucy’ and ‘Baby World’ are cases in point, with lines such as if the band threw together random couplets as an afterthought to their jam sessions. One must bear in mind, however, the band’s popularity in India is proof enough that their lyrics are accessible to non-fluent English markets.
The scant Asian musical motifs which emerge, such as sitar tabs in ‘Indian Run’, definitely don’t stick out as sore thumbs at all, acting as a means of transporting the listener on an Oriental voyage through the subcontinent.
Highlight of the album is ‘What Do You Want From Me?’, where backing vocalist Ava Hegarty steps up to share the lead with father John; the interplay between male and female voices demonstrates the band can blend voice(s) and rhythm without one overpowing the other.
‘Last Hippie Standing’ is probably best heard when performed in concert on a Goan beach – there and then, the resultant atmosphere may allow the songs to develop a new life beyond the distractions of a Western ear on a rainy day.
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