REVIEW: Latimer House – ‘All The Rage’

latimer house

Artist: Latimer House
Album: All The Rage
Genre: Indie Rock, Pop

Prague-based quartet, Latimer House, deliver a unique blend of quirky, lo-fi, guitar-driven, indie rock that might best be described as The Smiths meets The Strokes with a dash of Los Campesinos! and a sprinkle of Beck tossed in for good measure. Their 10-track debut, All The Rage, may not entirely live up to what its title suggests but any fans of the aforementioned comparative acts may find themselves comfortably at home within Latimer House, at times kicking back on the sofa with their feet up, and at others feverishly cutting a rug in any given room they choose.

All The Rage opens with an upbeat ditty in the appropriately titled “This Is Pop.” While initially fun in a minimalist kind of way, the opener tends to drag with little variation, spearheaded by a seemingly endless, simple drumbeat and Joe Cook’s effortless vocals as he touches on some of the world’s issues, ranging from the more salient (war, poverty) to the less significant (processed meat). “Love it or hate it / like it or not / It’s all in the history / it’s all that we’ve got.”

“This Is Pop” is followed by “Burn,” the first track that really displays some of the instrumental range that Latimer House explores on their debut. Incorporating cello and violin with a more methodical arrangement, the second track begins the transition into more interesting territory, but again, as “Burn” surpasses the 5-minute mark, the track begins to drag a bit with repetition. This is somewhat of an ongoing theme as, save for one, every track is over 4 minutes long, with many hovering around five minutes. Luckily though, not all of the songs feel long-winded or redundant.

“Open Your Heart,” being the album’s shortest offering (still nearly reaching four minutes), includes some lively trumpet bits at the end which distract slightly from the “follow your heart” lyric that’s repeated fifteen times in the course of three minutes. “Red Heart Sequin Blues” changes things up a bit as well, with jangly blues piano, a catchy sing-along chorus, and rolling guitar grooves to tap your foot along to. The mood gets slowed and sensual immediately after with the soothingly ambient and lounge-like “Your Love,” the album’s most mellow track that’s also one of its strongest. The funny thing is that with a 5-minute runtime and being All The Rage‘s most laid-back offering, it might be the only one that doesn’t actually feel its length. It might be due to the fact that it’s so easy to get lost in that you lose track of time. It’s hypnotic in the best way and really adds a much-needed variety to the album.

After many listens through, I have to say that the drumming is my biggest issue. It’s not so much the simplicity in the beats, but the lack of variation and the mixing which seems to bring them to the forefront. To me, the drumming is the most noticeable thing in almost every track and that’s not a good quality for All The Rage. Between the length of the songs and the tedious beats, all but maybe two cuts seem to overstay their welcome. If the drums were turned down a bit and the other instruments were given more of a chance to shine, I think this album would feel a lot more alive. There’s plenty of talent here if you dig beneath the kick and snare, but the drums are distracting at the least, stealing some thunder from the various keys and strings.

Being a debut, though, there are plenty of interesting ideas in the arrangements and lyrical content that I look forward to seeing further explored on future efforts from Latimer House.

SCORE: 6.8/10
Review written by: Brian Lion — (Follow him on Twitter)

Brian Leak

Editor-In-Chief. King of forgetting drinks in the freezer. Pop culture pack rat. X-Phile. LOST apologist.
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