Despite this Wigan four-piece only being around since 2018, they are living proof that despite the pandemic bands need the opportunity to perform live to develop and build up their fan base. Prior to playing at the 2019 Kendal Calling festival at the request of Tim Burgess (The Charlatans); The Lathums biggest gig was their local pub, The Crown.
Having been signed just before the pandemic outbreak, The Lathums had the free reign to spend time writing material for this LP. Despite being called How Beautiful Life Can Be, this debut is not themed around this title. Whilst there is a song called “How Beautiful Life Can Be”, one of the bands’ newer songs, the overall theme lies in sadness. To quote frontman Alex Moore “For me, sadness was what got me into writing and what gave me the ability to feel things more intensely. I don’t think any of these songs would have come to me if I didn’t have that sadness.”
With How Beautiful Life Can Be was produced by James Skelly (The Coral), there are Coral influences throughout, along with Stone Roses, Arctic Monkeys and The Zutons (minus the saxophone). Vocally, whilst Moore applies the tricks of the trade perfected by the likes of Alex Turner (Arctic Monkey’s), Alex has his own unique ethereal and soulful vocal output, a halfway house between a falsetto and a tenor.
Opening with “Circles of Faith”, the upbeat jangling guitars and more expansive arrangements instantly bring to mind the Stone Roses. This theme is also witnessed on “Fight On”, with intense lyrics, including “There are tears in my eyes as I am forced to fight against an occupation. One greater than I.” Moore’s diction and clarity are not compromised as he speeds up the BPM when singing, “Oh I'm running jumping flying gunning faster fighting faster than the world”. The title track to this LP, “How Beautiful Life Can Be”, evokes happy memories of The Coral’s “Pass it on”, whilst the catchy “The Great Escape” resembles The Zutons “Remember Me”. It is accompanied by “out there” lyrics, including “gravity feels like a forgotten force”.
“I’ll Get By” introduces the listener to a more acoustic and folky side to this four-piece which is both a love song and a confessional about ones character and vulnerabilities. Moore sums this up with sensitivity as he sings, “and I hope you can see all the best parts of me cause you’re the one thing I believe will save me from this pain”. “I’ll Never Forget the Time I Spent with You” is more quiescent yet equally emotionally evocative. “I Won’t Lie” “I see your Ghost” is the only song to invite ska on to this LP and fits into the overall album apparatus. How Beautiful Life Can Be beautifully concludes with “The Redemption of Sonic Beauty” with infectiously adroit guitar riffs.
After listening to this LP, one could suggest that people should not be asking where the artists who will give us a new sound that sounds different from the Stone Roses and The Coral are, but instead, ask, where are the artists that can use these sounds, evolve them and generate mass excitement with feeling with them. The Lathums via How Beautiful Life Can Be do this to perfection without calling on the aid of string and brass sections.
Moore’s lyrical sensitivity is likely to reach and impact a new generation. The Lathums muses are less likely to. How Beautiful Life Can Be, whilst musically not the most original, is deftly diverse and one of the freshest and most exciting LP’s of 2021.