Don't let the soft acoustic intro to All the Gory Details' semi-titular song "Every Gory Detail" fool you. Listen closely, and you'll hear Last November's hard-as-stone rock and roll heart. "His breath still lingers on your neck / His hands took the tour of your body / Making sure to stop at every attraction" and "Don't you get it? / You're the girl with the love that is for sale." Lyrics like that, laid over melody-rich music, have made Last November perfect for the television soundtrack scene. And a few songs from the debut album have already made it onto The Real World and other MTV shows. But while some tunes are TV-ready, some are decidedly not. Prime example: "Sorry, Sweetheart," with junior high school lyrics like "I've got ammunition / and my tongue is a machine gun." And anyway, isn't the point to be radio-ready, not made-for-TV background music?
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If bandmates bassist Jimmy Bradley, drummer Taylor Woodruff and tour sideman keyboardist Chris Jones feel like they're marching in lead singer and guitarist Luke Pilgrim's parade, they are. He wrote all 12 tracks on the CD. He took producer and album art and design credits. (He might have done hair and makeup, too, but he doesn't cop to that, so we won't mention it.) While having Pilgrim in charge of the group's every artistic decision (maybe he did costumes, too) makes for a cohesive sound, it also gets a bit routine. Angry emo. Angry emo. Angry, angry emo. All the Gory Details shows promise, and maybe Last November can rise above its "all Luke, all the time" mentality. Maybe not. The group's second CD will tell us more. Chances are that until then, The Real World and its sister shows will drip with Pilgrim's rich melodies and immature lyrics.