The Last Domino – Two Thirds Of Our Lives
Release Date: 3rd February 2023
The album Two Thirds Of Our Lives is the latest release from singer/multi-instrumentalist John Orr, known under the guise of The Last Domino. The album, released in February 2023, sees a baker’s dozen tracks come together to form a unique piece of music that firmly sits across multiple genres, combining punk, prog, art and hard rock, plus drips of much more throughout. The record is separated out into three distinct sections, “Asleep”, “Awake” & “Alive”, described as a ‘loose concept’ designed to recreate those words in musical form.
Written, recorded and produced over the course of more than a decade, the album is a labour of love that can only truly come from creating something over such an extended period of time. This is evident as soon as you start the journey that Two Thirds Of Our Lives takes you on. Opener ‘One Third: Asleep’ has the feel of a sci-fi flick intro as a new world is introduced to the viewer and in truth it’s hard to see how huge this album becomes from this first few minutes, it’s a perfectly appropriate start. A bigger bassline develops as we venture into ‘Wake-Up Call’ as the album leans more into an alt-rock vibe. Ferocious guitars and desperate vocals combine, ala bands like Heaven’s Basement, and while this pattern does continue for a few tracks there’s nothing that feels even remotely repetitive on the album. The album is full of contenders for ‘best song’ but the way ‘Wake-Up Call’ ebbs and flows, soaring with such passionate vocals makes it a massive shout for that accolade.
As you trickle into the next act, “Awake”, the jazziness is turned up a notch or three as ‘Paperweight’ (see music video above) brings about a combination of fuzzy riffs and brass, not something that goes together too often but here it’s like beef and horseradish, a wonderful combination that’s a bit of a shock to the senses if you’re not expecting it. A cheeky foray into more heavier stuff sees ‘More Christian Than Christian’ break out the metal growls before returning to a more acoustic rock-inspired affair with ‘Honest To A Faultline’.
Closing on a pure hard-rock, adrenaline-fueled affair feels about right for an album as varied as this. Or it would do if there wasn’t a proggy interlude part of the way though, again confirming Orr’s mastery of drawing styles seamlessly together. Something that shouldn’t be looked down on, as keeping 13 songs feeling different enough that there’s no time to get distracted as a listener, but also having them all feel like they’re one bigger piece of work is difficult. Most artists struggle to get the balance anywhere near right, but here it almost feels like it’s too easy.
Two Thirds Of Our Lives is a bolt out of the blue for anyone not au fait with Orr’s solo project. It’s a throwback and a look forward all at the same time, feeling like it’s taking inspiration across each and every decade since the 60s but having a fresh sound that spans many a genre. This is a piece of art that will stand the test of time with an audience that grows and grows.