Latterman – …We Are Still Alive

…We Are Still Alive

How do you like your punk rock? Do you appreciate the importance and meaning behind “the only band that matters”, the Clash? Do you want your punk to be meaningless fun, with songs about masturbation and getting revenge on your stupid friends, like early Green Day? Do you want your punk band to have their tongue firmly planted in cheek, or their heart bleeding on their sleeve? With Latterman it doesn’t really matter, because they are kind of a punk band for all seasons.

…We Are Still Alive is the third album from the New York group. It shows the band adopting a similar approach to their first two albums. The album opens with the traditional punk rock instrument: a xylophone? Although, it doesn’t last long, on pace setter “Water Manes at the Block’s End”. We are then bombarded with a chainsaw guitar attack, that proves unrelenting throughout. “If we’ve ran a million miles/To get to this place” is the opening salvo, delivered in that now tried and true method of punk singing: the shout-sing. “Mumbled Words and Ridiculous Faces” continues the album, and lets you know that you will spend the next eight songs, like the first two; with your fist in the air, and your feet jumping up and down. “Don’t worry I won’t get burned by it” is the scream here. This is the key to Latterman: their ability to take a simple punk song, and by sheer energy, turn it into a near anthem. “I Decided Not To Do Them” opens with a tasty, fat guitar pattern, before turning into a semi-Bad Religion stomp. “Where did everybody go?” is the key lyric in this track, and also presents the theme of the album, ever so conveniantly. Latterman don’t want to rock alone. They are “true believers” in the punk mentality, with a nod to the “power in numbers” theory. The rest of the album continues the trend. From the goofy “If Batman Were Real, He Would Have Beaten the Crap Out Of My Friends”, to the punk as religion anthem of “This Basement Gives Me a Fucking Headache”, to the wall of guitars epic closer, “Will This Be On the Test?” the band plays with passion.

The problem with …We Are Still Alive is that it tries a little to hard to straddle that line between serious artist with something to say, and songs about Batman beating your friend’s ass. It is a line that many bands have tried to straddle. Green Day eventually developed into full blown serious rock stars, even though two of their first three album titles were poop jokes. Blink-182 went from mocking boy bands, to trying too hard to be serious artists, to taking an “extended hiatus”.

I guess in the long run, it doesn’t matter if a band straddles that line. As long as they create a good noise. And Latterman certainly does that. Their lyrics, though, are your typical pop/punk fodder that almost take away from the anthemic qualities of the music. It seems to be a running problem for pop/punk bands these days. They have great tunes, decent playing, and catchy hooks, but their lyrics are either incredibly trite, or ridiculously over the top. So when it all comes down to it, the one word that I would most likely use to describe Latterman: typical.