Jeff Slate has packed plenty in.

A product of the US East Coast post-punk scene, playing CBGBs and other legendary clubs of the day as the singer, guitarist, and principal songwriter of the Mindless Thinkers.

That band was named by Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, and he’s used to the Premier League, working with The Who’s Pete Townshend, touring with Sheryl Crow and others.

Even here on “The Last Day of Summer”, you’ll find Dave Stewart, Duff McKagan, Earl Slick, members of Paul Weller’s band and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds,

That’ll do by way of introduction, except that he’s a radio host too, which is enough to make you jealous, and Slate can evidently write magnificent songs too.

The opener “Heartbreak” can be summed in three words: expansive, mature, and classy. That’ll do for the rest too.

Elsewhere, like on “World Of Your Love” there’s a gift for melody, almost pop – but there’s an uncertainty. “I never thought that love could be like this and I wait for it to fall apart,” he sings, and there’s a sort of Del Amitri vibe to this.

It’s the little touches, though, like the lap steel and harmonica on the title track. Like everything has been so well thought out.

The country touches continue on “Till New York City Dies” and the keys tinkle and it sounds remarkably content despite the lyrics, while the sort of New York melting pot made by bands by Hollis Brown is all over “Movin’ On”, while there’s a touch of the strings of the 70s about “The Poacher”.

But while a lot of music works on its bombast, this is different. It relies on subtlety. The solo on “(Broken) Without You” is a case in point, it sort of just creeps up without announcing itself but is superb, as is the Beatles-tinged “Man On The Moon”, perhaps the highlight here.

The gentle stuff keeps coming. “All Of My Dreams” where Slate talks about needing to reach her in a song, and there’s something a bit widescreen going on in “Drowning Slowly”, but it never really lets its handbrake off. It really isn’t that kind of album.

Instead “Last Day Of Summer” heads off into the autumn with its thoughts and sadness, but on the back of some truly classy and exceptionally well put together songs.

Rating 8.5/10

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