Up-and-coming band The Lathums to appear in Cambridge next month
One of those endearingly unpretentious and down-to-earth bands which comes along once in a while, The Lathums come across as four mates who just happen to enjoy playing music together – and that is a delight to behold.
Perhaps the most exciting musical act to come out of the Lancashire town of Wigan since The Verve, this poetic four-piece comprises pensive frontman Alex Moore, guitarist Scott Concepcion, Johnny Cunliffe on bass and Ryan Durrans behind the drums.
Don’t just take my word for it, though, watch the videos for How Beautiful Life Can Be (the acapella version), I’ll Get By, and Oh My Love – you’ll be hooked. Happily, The Lathums will soon be appearing in Cambridge.
Citing influences as varied as The Housemartins, The Ramones and Patsy Cline, the band – described by those closest as “like The Inbetweeners in a Shane Meadows film” – completed its debut album with the help of producers James Skelly (lead singer with Liverpool band The Coral) and Chris Taylor at Parr Street Studios in Liverpool.
Full of youthful hope – they’re all 21 – the album, How Beautiful Life Can Be, is out tomorrow (Friday, September 24) on Island Records. Featuring 12 deeply-affecting, truth-telling, optimistic tracks, the LP is set to splash some much-needed colour over British guitar music’s stiflingly self-conscious landscape.
Vintage guitar-obsessed Scott Concepcion, who is not entirely sure where his Spanish-sounding surname came from, tells the Cambridge Independent he and the others are “very excited” about the new album.
“We’re getting back to gigging as well,” he notes. “Done a few shows recently, which have been great.” The Lathums played in front of 5,000 people at Sefton Park in Liverpool, and were also on the bill at the Tramlines festival in Sheffield in July – a popular event which this year featured such established names as Supergrass, Jake Bugg, The Streets, and Blossoms. They also performed at the London venue Omeara in August.
Scott has amassed quite a collection of guitars and cites Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler and Johnny Marr as three of his favourite ‘axemen’. He explains that they ended up working with James Skelly through his brother, Alfie Skelly, who happens to be the boys’ manager. He notes that “pretty much all” of the How Beautiful Life Can Be album was recorded in lockdown.
“It was done towards the start of the year, apart from How Beautiful Life Can Be, the actual song – that was done more recently,” says Scott. “We went down to Parr Street; we all did Covid tests and then we got the green light to go in.”
When it comes to writing their expertly-crafted pop songs, Scott reveals: “Alex does all the lyrics... Often he’ll do the chords as well for a song on his own when he’s at home. He’ll bring it to us and I’ll get a riff, or guitar parts, and obviously Ryan and Johnny will make their parts.
“Or it’ll come from either one of Johnny’s basslines, or I’ve got chord progressions or guitar ideas that I’ll present to everyone and it’ll build from that.”
Scott met Ryan and Alex on a music performance course at the Music Projects college in Wigan (Ryan had known Johnny for a number of years prior to that). Scott cites I Won’t Lie – which came from one of his chord progressions – and The Redemption of Sonic Beauty as two of his favourite tracks on the album.
I mentioned one of mine, Oh My Love, which has an impressive video too. “It’s a cracking video,” agrees Scott, who said of the dancer, Lily: “I believe she just improvised a few takes and got a bit of an idea of what she was doing – she did really well.”
Humble and proud of where they come from, the boys also helped out Wigan Athletic FC, a club beset by financial problems, in 2020. “We did a cover of The Snake by Al Wilson – it’s an old Northern Soul classic which is always on at family parties,” says Scott.
“We were going to do a Verve one at first but I think we all agreed it would be a bit obvious... We raffled it [a vinyl version of the song] off just to raise a bit of money for the club because I think it was going through administration at the time. I’m really not very clued up on football, to be honest, we just tried to raise a bit of money to help out.” According to NME, this gesture from the band raised £4,000.
The Lathums’ continued rise has been powered in part by a remarkable grassroots fanbase, a debut appearance on Later… with Jools Holland last year and a run of sell-out shows and venue upgrades.
In summer 2019, their fuse was lit by Tim Burgess – singer of The Charlatans – who offered them a late slot at the Kendal Calling festival where, inside 24 hours, social media chatter caused their audience to spill into the field beyond their tent.
“Yeah he did, right at the beginning he got us on Kendal Calling because someone pulled out so there was a slot going,” recalls Scott, “and he’d obviously heard of us. A similar thing happened for The Charlatans at Glastonbury, I think, where someone pulled out and they got a good slot. So he did it for us as well – really nice of him.”
You can find out just why he did that when the band heads to the Junction next month.
The Lathums will perform at The Junction (J1) on Monday, October 4. For tickets, go to junction.co.uk. Their debut album, How Beautiful Life Can Be, is out tomorrow (Friday, September 24). For more on the band, visit thelathums.com.