Monday, October 04, 2021

The Lathums deliver a much-needed slice of indie rock positivity with new album ‘How Beautiful Life Can Be’.

British indie pop has coloured the alternative scene for decades. Born from the ashes of post punk, the torch has been handed down from The Smiths to The Stone Roses and, in recent years, the Arctic Monkeys and The Libertines. Carrying on in this tradition is The Lathums, a Wigan based quartet that echoes the jangly sounds of Johnny Marr with an exploratory, confessional lyricism.

Fate played a part in the band’s conception when vocalist Alex Moore, guitarist Scott Concepcion, bassist Johnny Cunliffe, and drummer Ryan Durrans were put in a group together while studying at The Music College in Pemberton. The Lathums are now developing their song writing craft with the release of their latest album, ‘How Beautiful Life Can Be’.


Beginning with the soul searching ‘Circles Of Faith’, lead singer Alex Moore explains to the listeners, “I struggle talking, that’s why I sing to you”. Moore has an impressive voice that meshes perfectly with the band's sound, echoing a young Alex Turner. His Wigan accent adds a passionate sincerity to the lyrics.


I’ll Get By’ is a change of pace, a jaunty love song that nicely changes the tone after the dour introspection of the opening track. This is followed by ‘Fight On’, an upbeat tune that has a veiled socio-political message that seems surface level (and borrows too much from that Arctic Monkeys/The Smiths sound that the band use as a blueprint).  


The title track is a beautiful song and contains a kitchen sink realism and attention to detail that echoes The Kinks’ Ray Davies (opening with the charmingly penned “out in the garden, a bumblebee buzzes past my nose / all the while the kettles boiled, I’ve burnt my toast”). The song promotes a real sense of positivity and hope without being too cloying. All of these details “serves as a reminder just how beautiful life can be.”


The Great Escape’ slightly trips up lyrically with clunky lines like “juxtaposition is a predisposition of a pacifist movement” (a sentence that hardly rolls off of the tongue) as well as an out of place line that “John Lennon shouldn’t of died” which falls flat.

The passion and enthusiasm for music can’t be denied and it is obvious that the Lathums put a lot of heart and soul into these songs. If there is one criticism that could be made it is that there is a retro sentimentality to the songs that slightly stifles originality. We know, and may love, the sound that the band is going for, but it is almost like every jangly guitar solo and crooning vocal can be predicted.

Conversely, ‘I See Your Ghost’ might be the most original song on the album. An upbeat track guaranteed to be popular at live shows, it mixes an almost two-tone beat with an impressive rapid-fire rap-esque delivery by Moore. 

In a way, this track seems like The Lathums developing their own original sound from the ashes of their influences.


The album ends with ‘The Redemption of Sonic Beauty’, an elegant anthemic piano based track (Moore’s vocals are at their strongest here, even echoing early Thom Yorke on some of the higher notes). A guitar solo brought out from the deepest classic rock depths is played by lead guitarist Scott Concepcion before a short piano coda.


While The Lathums sound may not always be original, they play with enough talent and passion to ensure that this is a band worth listening to and following. ‘How Beautiful Life Can Be’ is evidence of a band developing, with the potential to be one of the greatest indie guitar bands of their generation.


Josh Lambie


 Image: The Lathums Official Album Cover (Press)

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