Last orders in Jericho tavern

All I Ever Wanted: sad reggae for a summer evening vibe

A year on from their inception, Last Orders are riding high, releasing their debut single, All I Ever Wanted, this Saturday. Preparing to appear for the second year running at the annual Wadstock festival, and booked to play gigs in bars across Oxford, you’ll likely hear their sound sooner or later – and struggle to get it out of your head.

Born from casual jamming sessions, Last Orders consists of drummer Fin (Queens), guitarist Sam (Wadham), bassist George (Wadham) and singer Elishe (Univ), who were brought together through a few fortuitous meetings over drinks. The group decided to become official to play last year’s Wadstock, and are now a staple of the Oxford music scene, playing regularly at Jericho Tavern, Mad Hatter, and St Hilda’s bar where they perform for their biggest fan, the college bartender.

Last Orders truly found their groove towards the end of 2023 with an established repertoire, and the beginnings of their own music. They plan to release two more singles this term ahead of a planned EP this summer, embracing the full diversity of their musical range, which will hopefully expand further with drummer Fin’s upcoming year abroad in Spain, for which they are seeking a substitute.

This funky foursome are the epitome of an Oxford band. Known to leave their rehearsals to the last minute, pulling off the gig despite the odds, they fit their performances around their degrees, often transporting drum sets between tutorials. Their music provides a rare respite from the rush of the term, for themselves and their audience, who they hope can nod along to the beat.

Oh it’s a sacrifice,
But I knew it from the start,
Now I’m just living,
With a bullet in my heart

~ All I Ever Wanted

Elishe, writer of this latest single described his inspiration as “not particularly about one experience, just a culmination of some nice sounding words and a bunch of experiences into one thing.” The song was developed and workshopped with the whole band contributing to the piece known colloquially as “sad reggae” before being titled after its hook.

All I Ever Wanted contrasts yearning vocals with relaxed, but optimistic rhythms which provide an easy beat to bop to. Heavily influenced by the funk trend of the mid-20th century, the band hopes to bring more groove to the student music scene. Their songs each have a distinct character to give fans something fresh each time. The diverse personal tastes of Last Orders members meant the time I spent watching them rehearse (or more accurately aimlessly jam) covered genres from soul to West African pop.

Bassist George described the song best: “You’ve got your heart broken, but you’re still feeling kinda groovy. You still have to cook a bit.” This could be the sound of the term; played as the sun sets on the Wadstock main stage, and #oxfess30500 laments love, lost to the pursuit of academic success.