The Last Internationale – Soul On Fire (Elephant Army)

Is this the year that The Last Internationale finally deliver on the potential, passion and raw power that oozed forth from critically acclaimed debut We Will Reign?

In retrospect that rather presumptuous album title proved to be an albatross around the necks of supremely talented pair Delila Paz and the marvellously monikered Edgey Pires.

Five years down the line and that reign on rock and roll’s notoriously fickle throne has never materialised.

High profile support slots with The Who and Robert Plant, network television appearances and the patronage of Tom Morello have been set against label disputes, politicised angst and career-stalling inaction.

But Soul On Fire is a stunning riposte to those who suggested TLI’s time had been and gone.

The furious Hard Times is reminiscent of Little Queen-era Heart with its glorious Barracuda-style vocal.

The gospel-tinged rock and soul of standout track Mind Ain’t Free contrasts sharply with the fuzzed-up, slide guitar-heavy Tempest Blues.

But on a record built to fuse genres and open the mind both sit comfortably within a creative melting pot that frequently threatens to boil over.

On Try Me Paz complains ‘it’s hard to make it on your own’. Fortunately she has the trailblazing Pires by her side and the duo’s longstanding chemistry fuels a retro-fuelled trip into the heaving underbelly of New York’s fabled 70s scene.

Soul On Fire does what it says on the tin: this is a no-holds-barred outpouring of lyrical wrath and musical fantasy. 

The Last Internationale, wrapping up a run of shows with Rival Sons across the UK, might well finish first when 2019’s rock records are revisited and ranked.