REVIEW: “Last of the Light” (LP) by Brendan Staunton

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Last of the Light is the first album in 30 years for musician Brendan Staunton. The well-worth-the-wait collection of singer/songwriter gems showcases his ease behind the mic. His wordsmith skills never derail and the bright light he casts is the same embrace fans of Keane engage in year after year. No matter the length of time that has passed, Staunton’s timely songs are here for the taking.

Prior to releasing Last of the Light, Staunton sang lead in the Celtic-influenced rock band Dubh Chapter. His vocals can also be heard on the ambient dance track “Weird Gear” from Ultramarine. Then, 25-years later he collaborated with the duo Cross and Quinn on the album Cold Sky Blue. Last of the Light has nine tracks total.

One of the highlights is the track “Mean to You”. The softness in his voice, a gentle reminder of a man that is empathetic and sensitive, the piano glimmers when he sings. Staunton’s press materials note his 70s rock essence and influence, this show definitely dips its toe into the worlds of Todd Rundgren and Darryl Hall. The piano, a dainty shower, splays the listener into a softer, mellow world. Staunton sings I’m running on empty, I hear the indifference in your voice, like you just forget me…but you always throw your words away, so nothing is certain, except what I’ll be going through, is that all I mean to you. I waited for his voice to crack, or slip like Cat Stevens in “Tea for the Tillerman” but instead, the backing piano, the subtle percussion dropped the beat and created the drama.

In the ultra-cool “A Moment” Staunton’s voice is hauntingly beautiful. He has a hint of sadness, a slight melancholy tone. The throbbing bass guitar seduces the listener. The jazz arrangement percussion pops like champagne bottles. Staunton sings what I need right now is to be with you right now, just to know that someone else is sharing in this moment. This line, sets the stage for an intimate, yet very lonely feeling of walking the city’s streets past the dinner hour. It beckons for the listener to tighten their jacket, to curl up into their overcoat wandering the streets.

Staunton’s stunning piano work mesmerizes in the soft but special “Underwater”. I wasn’t quite sure if he was singing about a relationship and feeling overwhelmed by finances. It’s certainly something many couples endure. Gone like the night, where everything that made it wrong, made it right, Staunton sings. Just like “A Moment” Staunton enamors the listener with his potent piano, his exceptional storytelling. One gaze, one chance encounter, and the listener is enthralled by each note. His voice lends itself, it gives the listener permission to drift away in his timbre’s solace.

Give special nod to the tracks “We Don’t Talk About It”, “River” and “Stop Believing”. Like a comforting cup of tea, or a friend that is always there to listen, Staunton’s revealing lyrics and exceptional music arrangements in Last of the Light are great from the first sip to the last intake. This entire album is mesmerizing.

Colin Jordan

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Graduate: McNeese State University, Avid Beekeeper, Deep Sea Diver & Fisherman, Horrible Golfer

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