Jacob Latham – Midnight Train (EP)
Jacob Latham just released his 5 song EP (Midnight Train) in 2013. As a music fans aficionado who’s strictly a voyeur, a writer who’s never played a lick or tried to fit different musical components together into a cohesive whole, I’m intrigued by the idea of a centerpiece band member like Latham playing in a band which consists of mostly Americana type players. Looking online Latham is somewhat of a musical force. As if releasing many CD’s over the last few years isn’t enough. Latham is perhaps beginning to proving persistence pays off. Latham has managed to hit a home run with this, his latest release “Midnight Train”
It’s a 5 track barnburner proving yet again that good Alternative Rock need not be taken too seriously – but never to be taken too lightly. Latham achieves his own distinct voice in significant part by featuring the unique rockabilly folk-guitar/voice combination at the core of all these songs. At the same time with all of the expanded tonal ranges and expressiveness that many instruments can dish out – making for a unique sonic experience altogether. The ultimate beauty of this collection, though, is in the way Latham so weaves his ever eccentric-lamenting “Irish Travels” battle cry in and out of the foreground of these tracks, playing a mostly supporting role on numbers like the opening “Pay Attention to the Rain” and the impressive title track. Then taking it up a few notches with “Don’t Let Them in” and “John Brown” All songs display moments that are straight forward, striking, bluesy, and soul stirring. Latham and his band clearly feels equally as comfortable powering through the modern singer/songwriter/folk grooves of the former as tiptoeing through the more contemplative, country-esque rockabilly contrails of the latter.
On this EP Latham finds the seam between the two approaches, delivering a steady interlude of music in the midst of musical chaos making for a boiling EP. Much of the songs unfold in similar fashion as Latham and crew alternate solo/duo meditative moments with deftly executed, often-challenging musical syncopation. He is l quite the writer, player, and singer. Latham really don’t compare to anyone I’ve heard. He’s so unique I can’t even begin to describe his sound accurately. Here goes nothing:
Band of Horses, Gregory Alan Isakov, M. Ward, Jose Gonzalez and Blind Pilot to J, Tillman. Vocally Latham has as strong tonality and good writing instincts and off the charts intensity. All in all it’s one of the most highly original and unique sounding modern day musical projects I’ve ever come across.
The common thread throughout all of these pieces is Latham himself and his adventurous bluesy memories via an open microphone musical vision. Via this angle Midnight Train is powerful, explosive, a bit depressing at times and yet courageously explores the boundaries between past/modern folk-rock and clever singer/songwriter with and uncommon subtlety and fumbled grace.
Jeremy Buntz edited by Michael Rand.
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