For a band based out of Baltimore, Lathe sure does know their way around southern flavours of rock and country. Nowhere is that clearer than on this latest release, their third vinyl pressing and their debut full-length, Tongue of Silver. It’s a fitting title, considering how inviting the sonic landscapes the group composes.
Void of any vocal presence, the listener is allowed the freedom to move around and negotiate their own treaty with the band on what imagery to evoke. Much of the heavy lifting, in that regard, is carried out by the group’s version of southern sweltering sludge, even adding organ and pedal steel to round out their mutated version of bluegrass. The last of their influence on the picture they’re trying to paint lies in the song names, with “Heat Wave” and “Rodeo Fumes” bringing to mind blistering sandstorms and choking diesel exhaust.
The rest is down to you, the listener. For the author’s part, swiftly conjured are old dim backwater dives with old haunting blues on decrepit jukeboxes. Tractor engines running amps on stages made of plywood and chicken fencing emit dolorous tones in blue smoke-filled rooms with cards, whiskey, and the occasional revolver in sight.
Even when the soundscape verges on pure nihilistic destruction more befitting an urban wasteland setting (see the transition from “Rodeo Fumes” to “351W”), the ability of the band to entwine western guitar twang into the wall of sound before breaking out into blues on “Cauliflower” is a testament to their knowledge and skill around country and heavy music and their constituent subgenres.
Overall, Tongue of Silver is a welcome soundtrack to the increasingly sweltering summer and will keep the afterglow of its scorching sonic burn in your mind even while the winds of winter begin to creep into your room at night.
Tongue of Silver Track Listing:
3. Heat Wave
4. Rodeo Fumes
7. Journey To The East
Run Time: 36:19
Release Date: July 29, 2022
Record Label: Grimoire Records