LATTE+ - Stitches (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Stitches (2017)

professional punkers/monster z

I can’t claim to be very knowledgeable about Italian punk. In my vast record collection, I believe there is only The Manges and Raw Power. Lucky for me, The Manges are a really great reference point for LATTE . Like their fellow countrymen, this band is straight up Ramones worship. For whatever reason, European bands seem more willing to fully embrace the primitive, early sound of the Ramones. American bands always seem to try to add other elements and screw it up. LATTE does it about as well as anybody. (Yes, the name of the band is a reference to the milk bar in the Stanley Kubrick classic A Clockwork Orange.)

The Italian trio has been around for 20 years, and Stitches is their 7th full length album. (Some, like Stitches, have been in English, while others have been in their native tongue.) The front cover features the beaten, broken and sewn back together face of guitarist/vocalist Chicco Lattepiu. (They all take on the Lattepiu surname.) Opening track, “Chin Up! Chest Out!”, has a surf vibe and only those four repeated words. By the second song, “Everybody Listens to the Ramones Even My Mom”, I was hooked. It’s kind of biographical for me. My mother hated most of the music I liked as a teenager, but she didn’t mind the Ramones. I think it reminded her of the Beach Boys, who were one of her childhood favorites.

Some of the songs have a little bit of angry attitude like “Screw You”, “Shit Talkers” and “Liquid Glue”. Others like “Darkness Inside Your Heart”, “I’m Gonna Kick You In the Ass”, “I Can’t Figure Out What to Do” and “Missiles” would have fit right in on the first three Ramones albums. The fact that English is the band’s second language actually seems to work to their advantage. The sometimes crude and simple lyrics are very much in the spirit of those early records. “Sleepless Nights” is probably the catchiest song on Stitches. In a better world it would be a big hit. It’s the type of earworm that can get stuck in your head for days. The title track is nearly that infectious too. It’s even got the type of organ lick that Screeching Weasel and The Queers tend to use so effectively. In truth, all 13 songs are catchy as hell.

Ultimately, LATTE is a band that’s fun to listen to. They will improve your mood, just like the first few Ramones records. In these troubled times, that’s worth a lot. LATTE has recently signed with a new American label based in Phoenix, Arizona called No Affiliation Records. There is also a new album planned for 2018, and it will be the band’s first full vinyl release. This is great news for fans of any of the bands I have mentioned so far. While you’re patiently waiting, check out the excellent Stitches or its wonderful predecessor No More Than Three Chords