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"Last Time Forever" - The Islas | Review

Downtempo, spacey guitars coupled with a sultry voice somewhere between a classic croon and sentimental lament make for the perfect soundtrack to a cold winter’s evening. “Last Time Forever” by The Islas is best experienced with a glass of red wine and big existential questions.

An outlier from the rest of The Islas’s catalogue, “Last Time Forever” is slower, more emotional, and leans into the cinematic, atmospheric elements of bedroom pop. The reverb on the sliding electric guitar makes it feel lost in space and time, forever trying to find its way back down to Earth— it’s an ethereal, lofty sound just floating over the rest of the song, effortless as a dream. The melody is made up of soaring sustained notes, a tactic widely used in shoegaze to evoke emotion; but this time, unlike shoegaze, the vocals are clear, distinct, and the main focal point of the song, driving home that emotion even further.

“Last Time Forever” feels like staring up at the stars on a clear yet cold evening. With frost-bitten fingertips and ice at the ends of your eyelashes, with the noise of the world drowned out by freshly fallen snow, there’s peace, quiet, you, and the sky: this is a place where clarity happens. This is a place where questions get answers, or maybe are met with more questions. But nonetheless, it removes you from the chaos for a moment— in fact, this feeling is a direct result of the state in which it was written during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“I was in a pretty dark place, I won’t lie. I was struggling a lot with the lockdown at first, I packed away my games consoles, wouldn’t touch my books or my Mac. I spent some of my time going to the Norfolk coast and just sitting in my car or walking along the beaches. It was in these moments that I carved out the lyrics. It’s a really emotional song, and in a way a love-sick song but it’s like I’m talking to myself really,” songwriters Nathan Baverstock and Ross Allen write to us. In deepest thought and darkest hour, Baverstock and Allen created the escapist world they wished for.

The Islas is made up of Nathan Baverstock, Ross Allen, Granger Wittering, and Ed Chalu. The group met and formed in college in 2017, and upon the release of their 2018 debut EP, “A Generation to Forget,” they caught the attention of the BBC Introducing, local music blogs and television, and even the production duo Sugarhouse. In the summer of 2019, their success reached new heights, landing them spots on ITV, Spotify Hot New Bands, and even leading them to their first international festival headliner in Rouen, France. Baverstock and Allen used their time during the COVID-19 lockdown to write and create new music. “Last Time Forever” is the follow-up single to “Close,” a song that had earned a spot on the BBC Introducing Hot List. But what truly makes the band unique is that they’re completely independent— no labels, public relations, or management. All they do is write and play with pure passion and talent.

Written by Jess Ward

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