Lastself Review: A house where the floors are made of clouds

Whatever happened to dream pop?

Around a decade or so ago, dream pop was almost inescapable. Bands such as Beach House, DIIV, and Alvvays were weaving beautiful textures of reverberation guitars, soft vocals that bordered on incomprehensible at times, and mellow synths that painted entire pictures with a single hazy chord. Even further back in time, bands such as Slowdive and Cocteau Twins captivated audiences with their deep, melancholy caverns of sound. While often tied into the shoegaze movement as well, these bands were also some of the pioneers of dream pop.


It would be entirely incorrect to say that dream pop is extinct. Visit the big hubs for indie music, such as New York, and you’ll find a few groups. However, it seems to have dissipated a little, almost as if people slowly began waking up, shifting in bed. Is the dream coming to an end?

Lastself answers that question with a resounding: No.

A newer band on the Providence scene, lastself are at once both incredibly current sounding and very nostalgic. They recently released their debut self-titled EP, and it showcases an absolute mastery of the genre. With three songs that each clock in at over five minutes, the band immediately bucks the growing trend of short songs to cater to TikTok audiences, highlighting their desire to simply do what they want.

The question is, do these songs justify being this long? I would argue that they do. Opener “Past Lives” paces itself well, layering ringing guitars and pads over a stomping beat. Despite the thickness of the sound, the vocals ring out loud and clear, which is quite impressive and helps the song stand out from others in the genre. As the song approaches the halfway point, the gates are kicked down and the drums burst forth with an intensity that listeners  feel building up for the past minute. Even more unexpectedly, a guitar solo cuts through the haze for a brief moment, adding extra texture and variety to the track.

“One in Two” picks up the pace exponentially, again showing the band’s ability to vary their approach to a genre that can become monochromatic if not properly monitored. The chorus features a half-time groove that hits as hard as some metal breakdowns. The vocal harmonies that come in during this section are the cherry on top, deftly adding to the sonic landscape swirling around them. This track also highlights how beautiful and weighty the guitar tone is, as well as how well produced everything sounds. The drums and bass both have plenty of low end to round things out, but they still ring as clear as day, never becoming murky or muddy. The balance struck here is commendable.

The final song “See You Again” sounds like something produced by Brian Eno, almost like if U2’s The Edge joined Slowdive during the Souvlaki sessions. The male/female harmonies reminded me particularly of the band Low, as well. Tempo-wise, this song is the slowest of all of them, lurching forward in brooding fashion even as the guitar continues to ring out like a buoy through an ocean fog. The guitar solo on this song is incredibly dense, which makes for quite a psychedelic experience. The synths shimmer around the thick guitar tones as the drums and the bass thunder alongside them. Fans of heavy psych sounds might actually get a kick out of this section of the song. With one final round of the chorus, the song rumbles to a close.

Despite being only three songs, lastself’s debut EP is an adventure through cloudy, densely layered dreamscapes. It rides an impressive line between fluffy and heavy, and for that reason, I think it will appeal to a lot of people. This band is onto something special, and I cannot wait to see what else they come up with.