reviewed by Farah Barakat
It’s still too early to define Latcho Drom’s specific style and sound. The duo, on guitar and drums respectively, experiment with multiple genre conventions and veer away from having a certain gimmick or schtick. The Edmonton boys describe themselves as a post-hardcore band, although that might be a misperception, for it seems that is the one genre that they don’t seem to dabble with as much. Their debut self-titled album–an 8 track cassette-only release with accompanying digital download–has a purely post-rock sound that borrows techniques from bands they’ve cited as major influences such as Sonic Youth, North of America, and Cloud Nothings.
Latcho Drom do not use digitalized post-production or synths in their sound, thereby relying on pure musicianship. Elliot Schelske takes the reins on vocals and guitar, and Eric Bishop keeps a steady beat with the good old-fashioned drums. Schelske’s vocal style alternates as much as their overall style does, switching between a husky growl and monotonous Thurston Moore-esque sing-talk.
“When’d” toys with fun, pop-punk influences; double vocals in the chorus and party lyrics channel the likes of Japandroids or Solids. “Pukebucket” tinkers with guitar riffs overtop of a constant steady rhythm. Coupled with Schelske’s shout-singing in the foreground, the fun track is reminiscent of the likes of (…And You Will Know Us by the) Trail of Dead. Opener “Ubu King” and second track “Supermoon” carry similar rhythms. Both rely on a steady rhythm that carries the songs through to the end as a steady stream of fun guitar riffs and melodies keep us tapping our toes.
There is a major shift in sound within the first four tracks of the album. The brooding post-rock of the first three tracks channel Sonic Youth’s album, Washing Machine but the band seems to completely let that go before even half of the album is over. “When’d” begins a string of rough-around-the-edges, post-punk songs. Drum beats become more poignant, as do the vocals and lyrics. Latcho Drom seem to be on a continuous trek to hash out their specific, unique style. This debut album indicates that it’s all there and we should anticipate going on that journey together
Top Tracks: “Reck”; “Pukebucket”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)