The Lathums is a young band from Wigan, England, who are reviving different forms of indie and rock. They take this form of music and perception of their style and defy it on their brand new four-track EP, Ghosts. The Lathums are intentionally subversive of their own niche on the album, working together with old and new tracks that feel strangely disconnected from each other and yet fully complete once combined.
The group is composed of drummer Ryan Durran, bassist Johnny Cunliffe, lead guitarist Scott Concepcion and Alex Moore on vocals/guitar. With only EPs to their name, the band already has hits under their belt, landing in the UK Top 20 Charts. The group has performed at Kendal Calling, sold-out their last tours and supported Declan McKenna on stage. Now they look ahead to a primarily sold out 2021 touring schedule. They will also be joining the Blossoms (for a rescheduled 2020 tour) and Paul Weller in 2021.
Ghosts, which is haunting in a spooky and emotional sense – bundling jaunty Halloween-ish tunes with the poignant coming of age sentiments.
I See Your Ghost
The first track on the EP was the defining single from the project, with a ghostly music video to accompany its release. The sound is playful and filled with the guitar style found on classic Halloween records. The meaning centers around someone being followed by the memory of someone with whom they are no longer in a relationship. “At night I see your ghost/You’re gone/But you feel so close,” they sing. The lyrical patterns and almost mimics that of Alex Turner’s on the Arctic Monkey’s tracks like “Pretty Visitors” (similar in spooky sound, too), “Cornerstones” and “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” In the middle of the song, there’s a chorus of rising “aaah” vocals, which sounds like spirits lifting.
In the very first seconds of the track, “Corporation” sounds a bit like “Fluorescent Adolescent,” once again channeling an Arctic Monkeys sound. However, the song quickly reveals itself to be a much folksier Beatles-esque tune. “Corporation” contrasts the more undead feelings of the “I See Your Ghost,” focusing on the realization that one is very much alive, as they repeatedly sing, “I’m alive!” Corporation Street is a busy street in the city center of Birmingham, packed with bustling and life, which makes sense for the meaning behind the song.
The upbeat guitar and light percussion create an airy sound as Alex sings, “I need you to be kind when you pick the pieces of my mind/I don’t always feel alright/I’m alive…”
Alex Moore explained, “I was in a beautiful town in Lancashire, leaving a family celebration and I glanced to one side on the way home and, just at that moment, the sunlight hit the top of this incredibly steep, narrow, cobbled street and beamed down off it. It stayed with me. It happened on Corporation Street.”
All My Life
“All My Life” is a standout single. It’s gentle and brings a serious depth to Ghosts that’s almost stunning. The track sounds as though it may have belonged on one of Cage The Elephant’s earlier albums, or the Submarine soundtrack, but truly, the track is very distinctly by The Lathums.
The strumming guitar and emotional vocals create a bittersweet sound. Alex is singing to someone, declaring that this may be the love he’s been looking for. However, the sense of plunging into the unknown and feeling uncertain, paired with the instrumentals, makes the song feel like it’s more about accepting your place and promising yourself to hold fast to your dreams. Alex cries, “‘Cause I have spent all my life wondering if this is right/And I believe that I have found my answer/So I wait for an open door and see, I’ll see just what becomes…”
The crescendos and the rawness of Alex’s voice creates an overwhelming feeling, welling up emotion in listeners. It’s the type of song that makes your best friend insist was brought to you for a reason as she adds to her coming-of-age film playlist (this may be from personal experience). On “All My Life” The Lathums remind listeners that there’s almost nothing as scary as the future.
Back to the darker theme and more playful sound, “Foolish Parley” uses a ‘60s beat to create a feeling that’s similar to old Halloween cartoon soundtracks, highlighted by the use of wobbly instrumental bursts.
Alex sings, “There is just no time/For this foolish parley/They handcuff me, throw me away/They’ll lock me up and do the same with the key/I know just what they’ll do…” The rapidly sung lyrics add to the pressure, making it feel like tensions are rising. To parley is to have a debate or face off (it derives from “parabellum,” which is Latin for “prepare for war”), which ties to the meaning of the song.
The swashbuckling sound of the song coincides with the pirate parley. The Lathums explained that they wanted it to draw from “archaic customs” of pirates. While the real Pirate Code or any of its predecessors from the Elizabethan Era do not include any official form of parley, in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, pirates were able to invoke parley to have a discussion with the captain of a ship without fearing being attacked. This connects to the discussion-like style of the lyrics on “Foolish Parley,” and creates a “dark and stormy night” contribution to the mood.
The Lathums conclude their delightful Ghosts EP with high stakes and seas.
Feature image courtesy of The Lathums/Island Records