Words: ROBIN MUMFORD
The infamous indie term, ‘Who the f**k are…’, cannot be used in the same sentence as The Lathums - a Wigan-based band that are causing an almighty stir on the biggest stage. With the release of their long-anticipated debut album, ‘How Beautiful Life Can Be’, for this hardworking band, they seem to have reached new heights.
Whether you draw comparisons in their musical nous to The Smiths or consider their meteoric rise as belonging in the same bracket as Oasis and Arctic Monkeys, one thing is certain, and it’s that grit and determination is weaved deep within the roots of the band.
Their debut reaches the peaks that many current artists can only ever dream about summiting, intuitively telling the stories of a boy with a broken heart in his bedroom and his evolution to the unimaginable gift of the love of strangers. It is a story worth telling, a story of resilience, hope and a brother and sisterhood growing beyond The Lathums’ own madcap bubble.
Arguably the band’s biggest asset is Alex Moore, who has made his own distinct impact on the frontman culture, choosing to escape from the expected attitude that comes with being the spearhead in a British indie rock band. Alongside his beautiful perspective on life, which ultimately transports the band to extreme magnum opus, Scott Concepcion accompanies him with a Marr-esque guitar jangle, anchored by rapid-fire, wise-cracking bassist Jonny Cunliffe and steady, rhythmic, wise head, Ryan Durrans on the drums.
Without a shadow of doubt, The Lathums consist of a star-studded line-up that have come together in harmony to produce a debut album that warrants a reputation of supreme quality that will echo perennially for many years to come. Life gave them lemons and they have used them to muster up wide-reaching and meaningful songs.
Most people would have taken their first sip of The Lathums brew through the release of their first single ‘The Great Escape’, which is a phenomenal piece, exploring the theme of existence and life on Mars. Written as a confused 16-year-old, Alex Moore already showed exceptional wordcraft and an ability to see the world in a different, yet creative, frame of mind. There is an argument out there to suggest that people like Moore come along once in a blue moon, and the type of talent that the frontman has in his artillery is superhuman.
With the release of the Long Player, ‘The Great Escape’ is still a top song, but it is now rivalled by more recent singles that the Wiganers have surfaced to form a sphere of influence on the modern-day indie music scene. Whether they are aware of it or not, their unparalleled sound has had a massive impact on the rest of the genre.
It is songs like ‘The Great Escape’, along with the appropriately named single ‘All My Life’ that give away the aspirational and introspective nature of the lyrics in the twelve deeply affecting songs on the release. But then songs such as ‘I Know That Much’ and ‘I’ll Get By’ are counterintuitive numbers that illustrate the peace, conciliation and wisdom that comes when clouds give way to sunshine.
The links that the band receive with The Smiths is found most dominantly through Scott Concepcion’s expansive influence on how the guitar strokes shape the overall sound of The Lathums. The weeping and intricate breaks on trebly high strings evoke Morrissey and Marr comparisons, something that has arguably never been replicated since the happiness-deprived band from Manchester had cascaded the top of the charts in the 80s.
While Moore gets most of the plaudits in the soundscape of Wigan’s beloved rockers, Concepcion has given The Lathums influences that no one had heard until his introduction. From the likes of Orange Juice and The Housemartins, Concepcion’s unrivalled value in the band has conjured a sound for the band that is beyond comparison with anyone else.
Every band member is irreplaceable, though, and while bands of the past and present rely on the frontman to pull them through on a commercial level, being the poster boy and image of the band, The Lathums are different.
‘Artificial Screens’ showcases this the best, with every band member coming together to present listeners with a whirlwind sound that inescapably sends them into a vortex of hypnosis. The psychedelic guitar slides are passionately stirred together with constant drum bashes and powerful lyrics that will quite literally cast a spell on anyone who listens.
Perhaps the track to set the most appetite whetting of predictors for the band’s future is piano-borne curtain fall, 'The Redemption Of Sonic Beauty'. Part-soul ballad, Lennon-esque cry and smoky cabaret hall closer, the idea that the song could be a bridge from The Lathums Part One to The Lathums Part Two is potentially ‘How Beautiful Life Can Be’s defining moment. This really is just the beginning.
Overall, The Lathums have put themselves in pole position as indie’s most talented band with their debut album. The stories told are nothing short of beautiful and the way they are told is beyond exceptional, the Wigan band continue to show the world their capabilities, fuelled by a line-up of highly creative music makers. They are unique and inspiring, determined and talented, passionate and irresistibly loveable. *****
The Lathums 'How Beautiful Life Can Be' is released on Friday the 24th of September on Island Records.
Pre-orders including exclusive merchandise bundles via www.thelathums.com