StevieRay Latham & The Nomads of Industrial Suburbia “Letters From Suburbia”

Own Label, 2021

Exploring the dark underbelly of suburbia through gothic alt-folk.

This final EP of a trilogy finds StevieRay Latham in experimental and artistic territory, playing with the concepts of the dark, gothic underbelly of suburbia. Opening with an eight-and-a-half minute epic ‘Dionysus Blues’ merging the story of the Greek god of wine with a gothic soundscape of alt-folk and industrial blues performed by The Nomads of Industrial Suburbia mixing StevieRay Latham’s multi-instrumentalism with trumpet, drums and backing vocals. It’s a strange, intense down-beat story of failed love lifted by Matt Street’s trumpet, like echoes of a jazz dive leaking into the back street setting, before exploding into a multi-layered choir of voices. A complex and intriguing song.

The EP then moves into more familiar territory with the garage rock of lead single ‘Gashouse’ with a solid guitar riff and the same multi-layered backing vocals. ‘Letter From Suburbia’ shifts into an alt-folk ballad and then ‘Don’t Make Me Love You In Vain’ deconstructs this into a more experimental mode, though retaining the same darkly, existential aesthetic.

Final track ‘Transient Circles’ is a spoken word poem recited over the gradually fading sounds of the previous song, with found sounds including church bells providing the backdrop of a faintly remembered suburbia.

This isn’t easy listening, but the point here is to challenge the listener. It’s intriguing, maybe even, at times, beguiling.


About Peter Tomkins 33 Articles
What brought me here? The Mekons, The Men They Couldn't Hang, Weddings Parties Anything, Blyth Power, Husker Du, Johnny Cash, Uncle Tupelo, Old 97s, Jerry Lee Lewis, Son Volt, Steve Earle, Bill Monroe, Sarah Shook, and on and on.
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