We review the new album from The Lathums: How Beautiful Life Can Be
The Lathums, a young band from Wigan, have recently come out with their debut album “How Beautiful Life Can Be“. From only starting in 2019 the band have created big waves, especially this year bringing out all sorts of new music, even throughout the COVID era.
This album is a great addition to the collection of music they are bringing out, with clear comparisons to The Smiths and Arctic Monkeys, while showing off their individuality as a new band. Holding some fantastic songs such as “I See Your Ghost”, displaying the Arctic Monkeys inspiration on their sleeve with the speedy bass, catchy riffs and clear Northern accent. “Circles Of Faith” with the Johnny Marr styled lead guitar part and simplistic drums and finally “The Redemption Of Sonic Beauty” accurately describing the full variety of the band and their unique sounds.
The style given throughout the album is a very clear, modern indie summer soundtrack. It gives off the muddy, sweaty festival images, and the unforgettable Dark Fruit in your left hand and cigarette in the right. The title track, “How Beautiful Life Can Be”, expresses this exact image with the jumpy drums, cute acoustic guitar, spacey lead guitar drowned in reverb and imagery from the lyrics like “Out in the garden, a bumblebee passes by my nose” and “Let the children have the chance to see, just how beautiful life can be” bringing out similar vibes to songs from the 70s and 80s and their uplifting spirits and hopeful insights.
Also, an unfortunate amount of the album is songs that have been previously released which I think would be fine if it was 2 or 3 that were released in the build-up to the album, but around half the tracks are ones heard before. Some of these additions I absolutely understand, like “Fight On” and “The Great Escape” as they are already popular songs and some people would have been hoping for them, however, I feel like the use of “Artificial Screens” and “I Know That Much” doesn’t really serve the album well and feels almost like filler when against the other amazing tracks on the album.
In such a short amount of time to have an album this full and comprehensive is an incredible achievement that shouldn’t be overlooked. Even with the shortcomings of this album, it allows a lot of growth and shows a broad array of paths the band can go down depending on how they evolve. However, this is a double-edged sword, having this many different styles on the same album can seem jarring and does bring down the album as a whole.
Track 1 – Circles Of Faith: This track starts the album off with a laid back, Smiths-esque track. Containing spacey tones, catchy guitars and the key northern voice sets the tone for the rest of the songs.
Track 2 – I’ll Get By: Switches the tone to a more dancey, summer indie tune. Unfortunately, it feels fairly generic for this genre, I think a more creative solo, more involved lead guitar, or meaningful lyrics could help this track a lot.
Track 3 – Fight On: This song couldn’t be on the album. Being one of their top songs with an updated sound and mixed better than original release in 2020.
Track 4 – How Beautiful Life Can Be: The title track of this album gives us an upbeat summer anthem, fantastic lyrical content that brings the mood up and is reminiscent of a Bowie song.
Track 5 – The Great Escape: Another one of their hits pre-album displays the fantastic guitar lead and vocals that the Lathums are known for.
Track 6 – I Won’t Lie: A classic indie love song. once again the smiths influence pokes through with another beautiful guitar and drum arrangement. For a singer with such an incredible voice, he doesn’t seem to show it off here as much as I would like, it could use some alternations or melody shifts at some point within the song.
Track 7 – I See Your Ghost: This song feels very Favourite Worst Nightmare inspired. It showcases some of the best features of the band in the steady and slick bass, funky lead guitar, fantastic drumming, and an insane vocal performance with the rapid-fire speed.
Track 8 – Oh My Love: Cute little ballad, nothing too complex happening but a good release to lead onto the next song after the large indie anthems put out in the album so far.
Track 9 – I’ll Never Forget The Time I Spent With You: Simple band and a vocal performance with very heartfelt lyrical content, allows the vocals to come forward and take the spotlight for this track.
Track 10 – I Know That Much: Another re-recording adds to the album, it is a popular song but I feel it doesn’t showcase all too much more than the other songs on the album so far.
Track 11 – Artificial Screens: This track has a fantastic guitar lead once again, and a guitar solo that stands out significantly. Unfortunately, it goes on a bit too long, with not much changing through the different verses which let this song down, it feels like almost a full minute is used as empty space.
Track 12 – Redemption Of Sonic Beauty: This track does perfectly at showing off the incredible range of dynamic shifts the band is capable of. A very strange and unique use of a wah pedal which doesn’t fit incredibly well. However, an unbelievable vocal performance is at the forefront of most of the track which feels like a song you would raise a lighter to; definitely a great place for this track in the album.
Finally, I would say it is a great start to a (hopefully) long and genre-changing career, it isn’t easy at all to release a full album that is great within a couple of years of starting but I would say they have done a damn good job of getting that across here. I’m excited to hear where they are going next and hopefully see them break out of these comparisons to Arctic Monkeys and The Smiths to finally become their own band people are compared to.