A truly great debut
Kieran Macadie
13:23 22nd September 2021

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From playing the shrouded pubs on the backstreets of Wigan to performing to thousands at the Manchester Arena in the space of two years – it’s no secret that The Lathums are a force to be reckoned with. Solidified by their rapid rise to the top of the guitar scene, their eagerly-anticipated debut album is finally here.

Recorded at Parr Street Studios in Liverpool in the company of producers James Skelly and Chris Taylor, How Beautiful Life Can Be not only encapsulates The Lathums’ remarkable story over the past two years but also introduces a brand-new chapter for the quartet—consolidated as one of the best guitar bands in the UK today. 

The soothing and angelic voice of frontman and lyricist Alex Moore glides beautifully across the duration of the record, crying out themes of love, faith, growing pains, and celebrating the viable beauties of life. Paired with the melodic bliss of Rickenbacker-wielding guitarist Scott Concepcion, echoing The Smith’s Johnny Marr with arpeggiated chords and bright jangly tones, it creates a truly charming and wonderful indie-rock record.

From the first track ‘Circles of Faith’, the bleeding melody from Scott’s guitar and the bouncing rhythm section from bassist Johnny Cunliffe and drummer Ryan Durrans can only make one imagine the instruments booming out to an arena of thousands—something now familiar to The Lathums with their packed-out festival slots and arena tour support with Blossoms. The recordings and the live shows clearly go hand in hand for the four-piece.

Followed by familiar tracks such as recent singles ‘I’ll Get By’ and the titular track ‘How Beautiful Life Can Be’, alongside brilliantly re-recorded versions of hits that helped The Lathums rise including ‘Fight On’ and ‘The Great Escape’, the album flows smoothly and fluently from each track making an extremely cathartic listen. 

For the die-hard legion of fans that the band have developed, much of How Beautiful Life Can Be won't deliver any fresh material: only four of the twelve tracks here are unreleased. Whilst this might understandably be a disappointment to some, fans are treated with beautifully re-recorded and masterfully produced new versions of their pre-Island Records releases, all undoubtedly stronger than the original versions. For the new listeners though, the record gracefully encapsulates the band and their story so far — a perfect introduction for anyone

Into the second half of the record, the breathtaking instrumentation and the serenading voice of Alex continue to keep the record flowing at a beautiful pace. Tracks such as the ravishingly jangly ‘Oh My Love’, the fingerpicking acoustic ballad ‘I’ll Never Forget The Time I Spent With You’ and the epic concluding track ‘The Redemption of Sonic Beauty’ solidify a truly great record. 

That the final track refers to sonic beauty seems fitting for The Lathums. In terms of guitar music, no band or artist has seen such a profound, interesting, and rapid rise to the top since Arctic Monkeys. Now that they have an engaging and un-skippable debut album under their belts full of easily absorbed beauty able to capture the hearts of listeners, The Lathums are probably capable of anything. 

How Beautiful Life Can Be arrives 24 September.

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Photo: Press