Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Past Meets the Present for 12 Minutes - The Lathums - “Ghosts” EP Review

Up and coming Pop Rock group The Lathums bring together the sounds of ska, sunny acoustic pop and Spanish inflected battle cries on their latest EP: “Ghosts”

The Lathums have been making quite a bit of noise in recent times what with the NME, The Guardian and The BBC each having their own dedicated article and interview with the band. For newbies this is incredible progress which is in and of itself a demonstration of how exciting this band is, let alone the music they create. They have this fiery passion and dedication to them with frontman Alex Moore even saying to Apple Music: “Every generation had that defining band and we want to be that for this generation”.

Which are bold words for somewhat newcomers. 

This new project of theirs is 4 tracks, 12 minutes long and actually pretty good. The next Beatles? No, but effort was put in here clearly.

This project kicks off with “I See Your Ghost” which is essentially a ska banger, with trademark skank minor chord guitar and melodic bass guitar work which establishes this relentless rhythm. The verses are broken up by a quick barrage of words like if Eminem paired up with The Scatman, completed with Alex Moore’s uniquely English delivery. The song’s chorus sounds like something straight out of a Madness tune, in fact, this whole song is a bit “One Step Beyond” in my opinion which isn’t a bad thing at all. This song would absolutely bring the house down live, complete with checkered moshpits. The lyrical content of this track is also particularly interesting with the band comparing what type of jewellery someone wears to the amount of trash that they talk. It’s an interesting way of looking at it and another fresh surprise from this track. 

Next we have the song “Corporation Street” which is a delightful bit of catchy, feel good, sun-drenched guitar pop. The hook on this is spectacular and has been lodged in my head all day, no doubt it will be in yours as well. The song just reeks of a hot summer day, out with a partner with this blasting in the car or on your Bluetooth speaker that you’ve brought to the beach. This song, whatever context, is harmless and so feel-good rays of sunshine will be coming out of your speakers or from within your AirPods. The bluesy, slidey solo in the bridge adds enough grit to the song so that it doesn’t become too sickly sweet and annoying. Lyrically this song seems to be tackling mental health which is always nice to see, bands bringing their troubles up to the spotlight and saying “hey, it’s ok! I gotta deal with this too!”. It’s just a nice song, play it at your next sesh.

We now come to my least favourite of the bunch here, “All My Life”. Compared to the last two tracks it doesn’t stand out in my opinion, it kind of just feels like it was thrown in there as “the slow song”. It doesn’t do anything that interesting with what it has instrumentally. It does build and swell to an eventual climax but it kinda just sounds like Slow Indie Ballad #642. It just doesn’t really stand out, kinda just blends into the background like something you’d hear at the pub at a barely audible volume. Again my least favourite of the bunch of tracks presented on this project. 

Now we get to the final track, “Foolish Parley. This track is like a shorter, but just as anthemic version of Muse’s “Knights Of Cydonia” with its western vibe. It’s smokey and recalls the manic darkness of “I See Your Ghost”, but now Alex Moore’s vocals are reverberating and put on some strange filter. The verses have this ghostly otherworldliness to them that then get blasted by a chorus you can hear your local town drunk screaming at the top of their lungs, oblivious to their tone deafness.

Something I find off-putting however is Alex’s change of vocal tone in the second verse, he gets very posh and King Arthury. Whether this is ironic or not it’s still quite distracting and, again, off putting considering the track’s tone has remained quite consistent. This track also has a Spanish flare to it and is one trumpet solo away from turning The Lathums into a Mariachi band, which is something I’m not exactly opposed to seeing myself. Its dark energy brings the EP to a good and dramatic finish and brings it almost full circle with it matching the tone of the first track which, intentional or not, is something I’m impressed by. 

I can definitely see the hype behind this band and why they’re already so beloved by so many. They have a lot of potential as a possible big British act, but whether they’re worthy of the memory of an entire generation is a question only time can answer. We’ll see. But right now The Lathums have released a good, tight EP of Pop Rock songs that are definitely worth your time.

Iestyn Williams



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