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Latterman - ...We Are Still Alive (Cover Artwork)

Latterman

Latterman: ...We Are Still Alive...We Are Still Alive (2006)
Deep Elm Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: AnchorsAnchors
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Is it wrong to try and load so much on the back of a one trick pony? Well, forgive me if you will, because I've got a good amount of my hope in punk rock invested in one of Long Island's finer contributions to music -- Latterman. It's true what they say, a good portion of their songs do sound ali.
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Is it wrong to try and load so much on the back of a one trick pony? Well, forgive me if you will, because I've got a good amount of my hope in punk rock invested in one of Long Island's finer contributions to music -- Latterman.

It's true what they say, a good portion of their songs do sound alike. I know that any time I listen to an album of theirs, I won't randomly be bombarded with an impromptu breakdown, rap verses, extended instrumental passages, or any other elements not welcome far outside the context of their own genres. What I will get, is a band who puts an immeasurable amount of heart into their music, and it carries over in each and every minute of the album.

…We Are Still Alive finds the band as comfortably in their shoes as ever, and as full of enthusiasm and exuberance as I think their bodies could possibly withstand. If their first two full-lengths were packed with sing-alongs and fist-pumping anthems, this album is positively overflowing with them. The vocal combination of Phil Douglas and Matt Cannino is positively invigorating, and even during the more reserved moments (of which there are not many) there's an underlying spirit and rhythm that cannot be denied. A spirit and rhythm that carries this four-piece from minute one to thirty, and not letting a single one of those be anything less than enjoyable.

The album is stellar from almost beginning to end, but it all revolves around those vocals. Few singers can make every song as much fun as Latterman's do. An enigma of sorts that never loses steam, every track has the potential to be your new favorite. "Mumbled Words and Ridiculous Faces" couples some terrific drum fills with call-and-answer style vocals for the intro, before some quick riffing brings the rousing chorus of "The minute hand seems a little off this time around, but just like us it will find its place, so let's just give it some time for now." There's nothing difficult to tackle in the lyrics, most revolving around universal themes of community, and while that's become quite the tired topic, something just tells you that Latterman mean it. There's a sincerity there that so many bands lack, a sincerity that gives the words some gravity. "We Work the Night Shift" is one of Latterman's only forays into a bit more down-tempo of a song. It doesn't lose any of the sing-along qualities the others had, but at the same time, the rhythms aren't quite as quick and bouncy. The band tackles something different -- albeit only slightly, again on the last song, "Will This Be on the Test?."

At 6 minutes, the song is an extension of their normal punk rock, this time incorporating some guest female vocals to add another dimension. Undoubtedly a solid effort, but it strays a bit far from what they do so well, and subsequently, causes the album to lose some steam just when it needs it the most.

Still, the one and only gripe against Latterman seems to be their penchant to stick to the same style and songwriting technique. An understandable criticism, but this album firmly illustrates why the "if it ain't broke.." analogy has stood true for so many years. Unflappably cathartic and infectious, this record presents, as did their last two, an invigorating blast of punk rock spirit and gusto. And for that, they've no reason to apologize.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Latterman - No Matter Where We Go..!The Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Against Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldAlkaline Trio - GoddamnitLatterman - Turn Up the Punk, We'll Be Singing [reissue]The Gaslight Anthem - Sink or SwimNOFX - The DeclineThe Lawrence Arms - Apathy and Exhaustion

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Scruffy (January 22, 2007)

This album cover looks like something the Ataris said "No" to.

Hushearthling (November 30, 2006)

This fucker was recorded in my basement. I live with Phil. Matt used to live under my old room. They used to keep me up all hours of the night when I had work the next morning. My nostrils were constantly assaulted by their smell. I even lent my vocal stylings to the last record. My "Bike Tuff" and "Sweet" are known the world over. Not to mention my "Fuck Matt Canino". And I STILL haven't heard this record yet. Seriously.

Maks (September 4, 2006)

there's people that sees hype where they are not. and if this band is terrible which (punk rock) band is good for you? they're not dillinger four, but they're good, they make you happy, so what's the problem? not the best band of all time, not very original, but so what? they're true, regular guys that make you sing, jump, clab your hands, that's enough for me.

Anonymous (September 1, 2006)

listen to "If Batman was real..."

song is fucking outstanding. i could listen to that baby on repeat until the end of the year.

Anonymous (August 29, 2006)

this band is fucking awesome. so upbeat and fun and catchy. awesome awesome band. i could listen to them all day.

Scruffy (August 28, 2006)

"and everyone would still wait for Screeching Weasel to release a bad album"

Are you insinuating that Teen Punks In Heat was a bad album? Because it's their best.

FuckYouOiOiOi (August 26, 2006)

this album just brims of positivity.

Rowwwley (August 26, 2006)

Hell yeah Latterman!! Perfect summer soundtrack.

feeeding5000 (August 25, 2006)

People should have stopped making bands sometime in 1998. That way, fans would have some time to catch up on all the music they missed. Then, bands could start back up sometime in ... 2019. And Hardcore bands could keep on being influenced by Gorilla Biscuits, Crust bands could still be influenced by Econochrist, Pop-punk by NOFX, and everyone would still wait for Screeching Weasel to release a bad album. It would be... I think I just shit out my brain.

rkl (August 25, 2006)

for the record, afi didnt change their sound "2 albums ago," the dramatic change was w/ the release of black sails in what, 02?

okay, band keeps the same sound , woo latterman.
but pennywise does the same thing and people bag on them.
and then people lay that tag on nofx, and its not really true at all. you cant tell me that war on errorism sounds like ribbed, or even heavy petting zoo.

Scruffy (August 25, 2006)

Okay, Latterman, whatever....I don't care about that anymore. There are more important things to argue about.
Most specifically, that anonymous guy down there actually said that Ignorance Is Bliss and Warning were disappointments! How? Those albums are both frickin' awesome!

colin (August 24, 2006)

i think you all need to chill.

this is, by no means, music that will change the world. it's simple and fun and poppy but heartfelt punkrock. i don't see why everyone gets all uptight about a band that just wants to sing loud.

darkstarm (August 24, 2006)

Did you just compare D4 to Latterman? Get the fuck out of here. D4's style changes from song to song, in and out of major and minor keys, switching singers, vocal stylyings, lyrical themes, tempos. They have not done the same thing every record. They are not stale, their sound changes but it is undeniably them. I have no doubt their next record will do the same thing.

alamo (August 24, 2006)

This band is bullshit. Go get some real problems. Positivity in punk rock is rediculous. You are all the ones who are the ball lickers.

Anonymous (August 24, 2006)

Latterman is good fucking music. So what if their albums sound similar? People bitching about them not changing their sound or evolving is stupid. Since when was that a requirement anywhere in music? Changing sound can result in surprisingly good albums (Rancid-Life Wont Wait, The Clash-London Calling, Blink 182-S/T) but often times it fails miserably (Face to Face-Ignorance is Bliss, Green Day-Warning, AFI-last 2 albums, many more i cant think of) Latterman has good songs and good lyrics so why change that? I dont see people bitching about D4 and their lack of change in sound. LIke D4, Latterman just keeps doing what they do best and topping themselves.

randomhero323 (August 24, 2006)

this cd is pretty similar to their first 2 cds but i enjoy it

almostpunkenough (August 24, 2006)

once again i have to say how absolutley great this shit is. a lot of music makes me happy, but not nearly as much as this shit does.

nocigar (August 24, 2006)

i don't care what anyone says about this band, they are fucking amazing...filled with positive energy....excellent album. "I Decided Not To Do Them" is in my lineup for best song of the year

vocalyouth (August 24, 2006)

Score is for my grammar and spelling in that last post. I forgot to read back what I had typed. Oops.

vocalyouth (August 24, 2006)

Love this band, and this album is alright, but it doesn't grab me like NMWWG did. I mean, I LOVED that album enough to booking a show just so I would get to see them, and they ruled and smelled awful and it was worth it. This album initially did nothing at all for me, but now I kinda like it, but still nowhere near the last two albums, and expecially No Matter Where We Go... If you haven't listened to this band, that is the release to check out, though.

Still really like these guys. Hope to see a little more progression or something with the next album. This really does feel like b-sides to the last album or something like that. Not that that is terrible, but it's not real memorable.

Not-To-Regret (August 24, 2006)

Scruffy your take on Lagwagon's Resolve was bang on: "a piece of work that, due to its rushed gestation leaving little time for revision, perfectly captures most aspects of the grieving process with amazing clarity...Resolve was, for the most part, completely ignored." It's not as perfect or cohesive as Blaze, and theres not songs like "Lullaby" but you can feel the raw emotion when listening to it. Can't wait to hear the new Bad Astronaut; i'm prediciting it to be their best material to date.

Scruffy (August 23, 2006)

There people on this board that would kill you for slighting Hillary Duff!

Me, I'm more of a Kelly Clarkson guy.

SlowStupidHungry (August 23, 2006)

", something just tells you that Latterman mean it. "

Just because they shout a lot doesn't mean they definitively "mean it." Almost every fucking DIY punk band cares about community, and it's mostly a bunch of rhetoric to give the illusion that punk has any sort of inherent unity. As if!!!!

SlowStupidHungry (August 23, 2006)

Well, actually I commented a while back on this album before this thread was posted.

My high horse? It's called having an opinion, and in my opinion, the idea of pop punk with shouting being the best anything is ridiculous. Is it elitist? I guess. In the same way you expect kids to grow out of Hillary Duff or whatever...

Anchors (August 23, 2006)

I thought I could hear Will's high horse riding into town.

darkstarm (August 23, 2006)

Back to defend my homie Scruffy.

We, as a community, need to become more critical of the music that's coming out. The market is oversaturated with bands that either sound like a million other bands, are good and refuse to evolve, or are evolving for the sake of it. Let me lay it down for you very simply: Every. Latterman. song. sounds. exactly. the. same.

I love the way this band sounds, they're totally right the fuck up my alley, hell my own band has been compared to Latterman, but there is no variety at all. Maybe they don't have it in them. I don't know. But nobody should be praising a band that does the same damn thing every album, every song, every verse, every chorus. No matter how cool it sounds.

wallofyouth (August 23, 2006)

the thing about letterman is that he is obviously a comic genius. unfortunately, he has to worry about ratings and viewership so he has to interview a bunch of jerks about whom he doesn't give a shit. so they talk about their kids, etc. meanwhile dave looks and sounds bored and it's boring to watch for anyone with a brain.

if you ever see him interview someone worth talking to, it's gold. martin short, for example, is great with letterman. amy sedaris, etc.

leno just sucks.

SlowStupidHungry (August 23, 2006)

Hahahaha. The best band on the PLANET is pop punk with shouting. And the lyrics are pretty much meaningless obliqueness about how cool middle school nerd stuff is. AWESOME.

Scruffy (August 23, 2006)

"Anyone saying "ripoff", "overhyped", etc etc has obviously never seen the band live or ever listened to their albums more than once.

This band is one of the best on the PLANET right now.

Do yourself a favor -- get off the internet and go see one of their fucking shows."

Because no one could possibly have done these things and still hate the band?
Well, I own a physical copy, not just downloaded, of NMWWG! and I have seen them live. I've listened to the CD multiple times, trying to find what was so good about it, and failing. And I saw them open for the Lawrence Arms, and I sat at the bar the whole time. It was boring.

Big_Guy (August 23, 2006)

Letterman and Leno are both pretty bad, so let's just leave it at that

Anonymous (August 23, 2006)

Anyone saying "ripoff", "overhyped", etc etc has obviously never seen the band live or ever listened to their albums more than once.

This band is one of the best on the PLANET right now.

Do yourself a favor -- get off the internet and go see one of their fucking shows.

Anchors (August 23, 2006)

Letterman is definitely better than Leno. At least the former isn't still doing OJ jokes.

As far as Resolve; bored me. I really, really couldn't get into it. I've always regarded Lagwagon as a band who could write great punk songs, if nothing else, but that's run a bit thin.

colin (August 23, 2006)

damn i dont know why i didn't listen to this earlier.

this shit is off the wall bonkers good and fun.

Scruffy (August 22, 2006)

They're overhyped because of people like you attributing them the status of rock gods when they're passable fun rock.
And don't spout that crap about their honesty making them worthy of the hype. Every single band I give the time of day to is as honest as these guys, if not more so. It's kind of what draws me to a band. It's not that rare.

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

Such a good album. Although Latterman's is definitely the same band from album to album, I think each album definitely has it's own vibe. These guys just write great fucking songs. plain and simple.

The lyrics might be not be mind-blowing, but they're HONEST, which is far more than I can say about most bands. These guys could easily sell 200 000 records on a major or a big indie.

Oh and another thing, how are these dudes over-hyped? How many advertising dollars do you really think was spent on this release compared to say, the latest Epitaph or Victory bullshit. Attention comes from the fans that love the music.

This band owns, and that's all there is to it.

William_David (August 22, 2006)

Good to hear this review of the album. I really liked the last one, so I'm excited to check this out now.

Big_Guy (August 22, 2006)

Letterman sucks.

he has no chemistry with his guests and has terrible delivery

easily the worst of all the late night hosts. sorry

Scruffy (August 22, 2006)

Seriously give Resolve a try. Listen to the whole thing. I was never a fan until Resolve. It made me like them.

jockmcbored (August 22, 2006)

can't get into Lagwagon at all. the Latterman album was good but every song i hear from Lagwagon just grates on me. I can't understand the obsession with the song Violins either. maybe as i'm not 16 i don't really like Lagwagon

wallofyouth (August 22, 2006)

letterman > latterman

has it been done? probably. is it still true? yes.

Scruffy (August 22, 2006)

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is never a good way of thinking for a band. That's radio pop's mantra. And even radio pop bands would agree that it shouldn't apply song to song. Just because it works in one song doesn't mean every song should sound the same. Then, it stops working. There's another saying that goes, "Don't get stuck in a rut".
If I hear another song that begins with a tom-heavy drum part covered in harmonics, shouting, a brief pause and then a cascade of noise with more shouting get lauded as one of the best albums of the year I think I'll cry. There's something to be said for subtlety, and that something is, "You don't have to be subtle all the time, but, for Heaven's sake, if you're never subtle it gets boring, and you appear to be a one-trick pony lacking a wide range of emotion."
Don't get me wrong; I don't hate Latterman. It's just a sore spot that, in a year (2005) where we saw Lagwagon put out their most mature, affecting and captivating album yet - a piece of work that, due to its rushed gestation leaving little time for revision, perfectly captures most aspects of the grieving process with amazing clarity - Latterman's last "Everybody scream for posicore!" album received an unforeseen amount of accolades, while Resolve was, for the most part, completely ignored.

onegirlarmy (August 22, 2006)

I thought NMWEG...! was much better, but this one is still really good. I love Latterman.

DarrenMcLeod (August 22, 2006)

Great review. Even if it is just "No Matter Where We Go Part Deux," I still love it.

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

I gave NMWWG a fair shot, at least 8-10 listens. Absolutely nothing about it grabbed me. The only chorus I actually remember is the one for the second track, and it's nothing I would call memorable. Most overrated band on this site, bar none.

-Chinatown

ElVaquero (August 22, 2006)

Definitely not as great as the fantastic NMWWG...!

What the band needs to do is stop putting out albums every damn year. If they took a little more time to fully develop songs, make them unique, slow them down at times... man that would just be so tits. These guys could be putting out bomb album after bomb album if they just calmed the fuck down and thought about shit. I still love this album though, just the SOUND.

mpc (August 22, 2006)

Yeah, if I had the time / money I would have made the trip to Kalamazoo. I haven't been to a show there in years. I'll be happy even if they come as close as Lansing or Flint, although if they don't like Detroit I doubt they'd like playing Flint.

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

I hear theyre not a fan of detroit...sadly.Their show in kalamazoo last month was awesome though.

mpc (August 22, 2006)

This album just isn't as powerful as No Matter Where We Go, but I dig it. Now if only they'd play Detroit... we always get left out.

ChokingVictim (August 22, 2006)

Haven't heard the first 2 albums, but this one is really good.

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

Got this last month at a show, been listening to it non-stop.

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

compared to their first two cds this is a letdown. it lacks the great lyrics of 'no matter...' and its overall catchiness. the lyrics are way to general and simple. i love this band but this just wasn't a great release

darkstarm (August 22, 2006)

More and more I am becoming a believer in logical evolution when it comes to bands once they're putting out their third record. From what I'm hearing, this is no different than the first two. Both of which were already good. So why should I buy this?

FrodoShaggins (August 22, 2006)

This has all the original members of the Sex Pistols.

nocigar (August 22, 2006)

this album is fucking amazing

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

There is nothing special about this band or record. I wish there was but I don't see myself ever listening to this record again.

LMChc (August 22, 2006)

i want to like these guys so bad, but the point must be made that this record sounds a whole lot like the first two, both of which sounded much the same

danperrone (August 22, 2006)

i just got owned

i submitted a review for this too

insinceredave (August 22, 2006)

I need to get this

almostpunkenough (August 22, 2006)

yet another great dis from these guys. keeps growing on me.

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

To the drummer: Buy a fucking metronome dude. I know punk rock isn't about technical skill and perfect musicianship, but you speed up and slow down the tempos of the songs as bad as anyone I've ever heard on a record.

FatTony (August 22, 2006)

Good album, but nowhere near the level of quality of the last one.

Also, these fuckers owe me $10. No joke.

sickboi (August 22, 2006)

I think they are definately HWM influenced, but not a ripoff. Its like they took the great choruses from the faster HWM songs, and used them to influence how they write an entire song. Like in the 2nd song (I think), they go into this breakdown and it gets slow, and you expect it to slowly build out of it into something mid-tempo, but heavy. Nah son, they just jump into some fast sing along. I gobble this type of stuff up. I mean really, if you're gonna show a direct influence, HWM ain't a bad source. Great album.

coldwaffles (August 22, 2006)

"agreed. i've tried listening to them many times to give them a chance but at the end of the record, it's all a big blur to me. i see nothing that seperates them from any other band doing post hardcore/pop punk. maybe live they're different animal."

Well, personally, the lyrics do it for me... Sadly this album does lack a bit in there.

coldwaffles (August 22, 2006)

I love this record.

It grew into me.

Key tracks: Water Manes At The Block's End, "I Decided Not To Do Them," If Batman Was Real, He Would Have Beaten The Crap Out Of My Friends, We Work the Night Shift, 'Dozer Rage, and Will This Be On The Test?.

leifkills (August 22, 2006)

Tried to like it, really I did. But really.... I'm pretty sure I've heard all these songs before.

joeg (August 22, 2006)

"Overrated. Some of the most unoriginal, copied riffs are on this record. I wanted to like this with all the hype on this site but was bored out of my skull"

agreed. i've tried listening to them many times to give them a chance but at the end of the record, it's all a big blur to me. i see nothing that seperates them from any other band doing post hardcore/pop punk. maybe live they're different animal.

greyicewater (August 22, 2006)

i have meant to listen to this band for so long but have never gotten around to doing so. this review is making me finally get around to it.
as i stopped by their myspace i came across Cowboys became folk heroes' myspace. that was completely unexpected. i remember driving 3 hours to see them and they ended up playing only 4 and half songs. though that was completely disappointing, especially considering the song they didn't finish was "direct action gets the goods", it was probably one of the best shows i could see. they never tour, so it was worth it.

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

Bad band. Now Red Animal War and Slowride are a different storey. They were the best things to ever come out of Deep Elm. Seven Year War killed it (post Deep Elm).

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

how come nobody ever mentions their awesome use of clarinets?

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

latterman owes me some ointment for rocking my balls so hard

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

Terrible.

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

Overrated. Some of the most unoriginal, copied riffs are on this record. I wanted to like this with all the hype on this site but was bored out of my skull.

BrendanKelly (August 22, 2006)

grate.

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