As Last Living Cannibal, Hastings-based musician Allister Kellaway finds purpose and exhilaration in the darker recesses of indie-rock and its assorted musical offshoots. Denser, more muscular rhythms often collide with gauzy melodies before giving way to acoustic landscapes that quake with emotional reverence and the echoes of his beating heart. Across his 2021 debut, 7 Years, Kellaway found ways to bring a unique insight to tales of love, ache, and the journey of self-discovery — while more recently working as the producer for Norwegian art-pop EERA, manning the boards on her latest album, Speak. Prior to that, he spent time heading up the synth-and-guitars rock outfit The Mantis Opera.
Kellaway will release a new 6-track EP, On a Perfect Earth, on November 25 through Nothing Fancy, and it finds him continuing to exhibit a natural talent for incisive songwriting and melodic ingenuity, arranging genres without regard for tradition or accepted musical boundaries. These songs spread out in all directions, restless in their desire to examine the many rhythmic facets of his influences.
On his latest single, “Samson”, he attunes his poetic tendencies to a darker world supported by an ever-present beat and loosely-woven acoustic flourishes. Haunting and home to several unnamed spirits, the song allows rays of light to pierce its shadowy veil through the shivers of a radiant organ. Recalling the bare emotional gravity of Scott Walker or Van Dyke Parks, Kellaway revels in the expression of buried desires and impartial circumstance.
“‘Samson’ is about feeling like things are crumbling around you a bit, like at any moment things could give way and the house implodes with you in it,” Kellaway explains. “In the end it’s like salvation comes in the form of some external unforgiving force that could equally make things better or worse. Somehow that feels like a better option than everything falling apart by no cause other than just random bad luck.“
Directed by Fergus Worrall, the video for the song is a black and white ode to primal and interpretive storytelling, to the balance between the light and the darkness and its ongoing need to define the world without rigid exposition.
“The inspiration for this “Medieval Horror” came primarily from soaking up the feeling I got from the song’s mood, pace, and lyrics,” reveals Worrall. ‘I could swear this house is sinking, into a pit beneath the wall’: It fit perfectly with the then seedling idea of a medieval fable following a character through the woods. The knight’s mythical journey, facing foes and supernatural figures, and ultimately grappling with his mortal fate, is a nod to (or plain thievery of) Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal. We embraced a bizarre, gothic, and expressionistic style which made it a true joy to shoot.“
Watch the video for “Samson” below.
Catch Last Living Cannibal on tour below:
November 30 – Hope & Ruin, Brighton December 1 – The Piper, Hastings (supporting The Vacant Lots) December 2 – Shacklewell Arms, London
Last Living Cannibal’s new EP, On a Perfect Earth, is due out November 25 via Nothing Fancy. Follow the artist on Facebook and Instagram.