The Lathums: How Beautiful Life Can Be (Island/digital outlets)

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The Lathums: How Beautiful Life Can Be (Island/digital outlets)

They used to say when the times get tough the songs get soft, but that's no longer true.

These days many artists – most even? – are claiming their victimisation, marginalisation, waving banners for worthy causes or announcing how woke they are, or bemoaning their plight during Covid lockdown.

It was refreshing when Britney, finally free from the clutches of her father, celebrated her liberation not by raising money for a cause or making a socio-political statement but by posting nude photos of herself cavorting while on holiday.

Now, that's a proper pop star, right?

In a pop culture overloaded with serious, sometimes self-centred and right-thinking artists that old Led Zeppelin line has become even more resonant: “Does anybody remember laughter?”

Pop music has the ability to elevate the spirits as much as address bad politics, loneliness, climate change and broken relationships. Pop culture often favours the grim and morose artist as being more serious and intelligent than those who are cheerful.

In the current context it makes some sense that this debut album by the Lathums – all in the four-piece still in their late teens – out of Wigan should top the UK charts.

They mostly deliver upbeat guitar pop and the title track says “let the children have their chance to see just how beautiful life can be”.

Not too much to ask, is it? Especially when the kids are in a world of masks, dire predictions and strange weather.

This isn't just escapist but rather pop which has a lineage running from the Smiths (their sound not Morrissey's miserablism) to bands like the Coral (whose James Skelly produced this).

Titles here include Circles of Faith, I'll Get By, Fight On, I'll Never Forget the Time I Spent With You . . .

Nothing on this album is especially new or groundbreaking musically and they might be this year's Starsailor, but their optimism, strong melodic sensibilities and bright indie-pop is welcome in uncertain times.

Like Britney's holiday snaps.

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You can hear this album on Spotify here


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