Described by Gary Crowley as “something rather ace sounding” when he first played This Is Pop on Amazing Radio, the opening track on All The Rage, the debut album from Latimer House, sets the tone for this collection of guitar-driven pop.
From the earthy string arrangements on Burn, the dreamy reverberation of Your Love, the keyboard groove of Love’s Undermined, or the summer harmonies of Splash!, Latimer House blend keyboards and guitars with a depth of instrumentation that reveal subtleties and a rare attention to detail. Reviewers have conjured a diverse and, for the band, rather bemusing-cum-flattering range of references: Syd Barrett, The Wake, David Bowie, The Cribbs, Ian Dury, Phoenix, Iggy Pop, Art Brut, The Smiths, The Psychedelic Furs, Chas & Dave, The June Brides, The Beatles, REM, Half Man Half Biscuit, The Kinks, Pulp, Talking Heads, I Ludicrous and “any John Peel favourite from the late 1970s onwards” have all been pressed into descriptive service. Indeed, such is the cornucopia of ideas, word-play and melodies contained on All The Rage that pigeon-holing this first collection from Latimer House as ‘Alternative’ or ‘Brit Pop’ or ‘Alt-Rock’ or ‘Indie’ wouldn’t be quite right, but then again any of these terms wouldn’t be a million miles away either. Latimer House describe their music simply as guitar-driven. And their disdain for The X Factor and fascination with the idea of the hit parade come together in the album’s final cut, the baroque and sneering psych of Bubblegum.
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I picked this out of the pile when I saw the words Syd Barrett, R.E.M and Half Man Half Biscuit jump out the page and into my eyes. Its perhaps not as esoteric as that might suggest but instead is an album of quirky 80’s style indie pop with a particularly English sounding delivery. The vocals bear a particular resemblance to Martin Newell of Cleaners From Venus with their laconic Estuary English delivery. The music is a pleasant acoustic-based form of indie-pop that was most popular in the mid 80’s and its initial shambling approach seems to give way to a quite sophisticated brand of pop at times.
It kind of sounds like a direct cross between Orange Juice and The Keatons with a kind of off hand vocal style delivering wordy verse over the slightly hesitant indie beneath. I’m particularly enjoying the string drenched chorus of ‘Burn’ which swells nicely out of the understated verses. ‘Eye Can See’ reminds me of a particular Smiths song which I can’t remember and has a breezy nonchelance to suit. Unpretentious indiepop like your dad used to make, one for fans of anything from The Monochrome Set to MJ Hibbert.
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