Latimer House, Prauge's latest experimental pop fusion group, brings together a huge library of modern pop styles into something that is uniquely their own. Ranging from the 1980's cold, disconnected musings of New Wave, to the psychedelic experiences of 1960's rock, to the bubblegum shoe strings of Mo-Town, the group shows no bounds to their level of comprehension and their means to abuse it to their advantage. With the release of their latest effort, All The Rage, the group showcases their pop sensibility to fanfare and red carpets. As any great pop group should.
Self released, the album features 10 tracks of extremely well written pop music, many of times backed by classically trained studio musicians. Violin, trumpet, cello, and mandolin work can all be found accompanying the basic group dynamics of vocals, guitars, bass, drums and keyboard, giving the album a strong secondary layer. A certain thick layer of skin floating across the waves of pop intricacy, carefully designed by Latimer House, holds the listener blissfully above the water.
The opener "This Is Pop" sums it all up from the get go. What the record is about and how the band composes themselves. Shimmering keyboards back a bobbing guitar line, clean and bright yet smoothly rounded, giving Latimer House an all around smooth sound. A strong snare roll builds up into the chorus, keyboards rolling along in tow, as vocalists Joe Cook in the most subdued manner cleverly continues on about the ironic weight and cynicism of pop culture. Another stand out track, the eerie yet familiar tune "Open Your Heart" showcases the more curious side of the band. Straining and squirming violins begin the song as a steady rocking drum beat begins and continues in accordance through the whole song. The chorus, spoken as if the Great White Duke himself we're commanding it, speaks the simplest message. "Follow your heart," as trumpets dance in between the skittering of pianos across the backbeat of the drums.
"Red Heart Sequined Blues" takes things in a different direction. Away from the bubble gum pop of Phoenix or edgy predecessors The Strokes and towards the blues rock of the 1970's. Once again bringing to mind shades of David Bowie and even the eclectic genius of the Talking Heads. The second to last song, "Splash," brings everything full circle as the band returns to their pop sensibility. This time however bringing to mind the 1960's sunshine of the Beatles more than anything. The electric piano tones say it all in this song, warm, fuzzy and pompous, twinkling in and out of the song. The chorus is an outburst of oh's, ah's, dodedo's, jazz/rock tricks and 1960's rock perfection that showcases the bands finer use of dynamics.
While no member of Latimer House particularly stands amongst each other, even vocalist Cook whose subdued laid back vocal stylings bring to mind a mix between Bowie and Morrissey that didn't quite make it, the band overall performs well. Mixing a wide variety of pop sounds that make up for an interesting adventure. Many sounds are too be heard within All The Rage, almost as if a time machine of pop was contained and molded into ten songs. See what you can find.