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.

7/10
7/10

About Peter Tomkins 12 Articles
Over the last fifty years I have probably tried to learn most instruments from the guitar to the trumpet, taking in the accordion and mandolin along the way. And failed. But as a music lover I started writing for magazines and websites about music around ten years ago. Personal view: the world would be a better place if we wore more hats.

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