If you live in or around London and attend gigs on a regular basis, then Latitudes will have becoming a steady part of you gig going diet for the last seven years or so. The band’s initial release was instrumental EP ‘Bleak Epiphanies in Slow Motion’, however, the five piece really made a name for themselves when they teamed up with vocalist Adam Symonds for the devastatingly heavy yet mind blowingly complex ‘Agonist’ – arguably, their seminal record. Second full length ‘Individuation’ saw them shift away from the brevity of their debut and take on more prog influence. Now, after jumping ship from Shelsmusic to Debemur Morti, they’re back with ‘Old Sunlight’.
Proving that the third time is certainly the charm, they teamed up with Chris Fielding once more to record at Skyhammer Studio (Undersmile, Electric Wizard, Winterfylleth), but this time also brought in James Plotkin (Sunn O))), Conan) to help out with mastering. This pairing of studio masterminds should go some lengths in explaining the clarity and sheer sonic impact of ‘Old Sunlight’ – each snare hit, every chord and each wavering falsetto really seems to jump out of the speakers. This record bridges the gap between ‘Agonist’ and ‘Individuation’ – marrying together their old time Isis and Neurosis influences with sounds that are not unlike those of Pelican and Locrian.
With Adam Symonds now a permanent fixture within the Latitudes fold, it would be easy for them to go completely overkill with the vocals, however, they retain their ability to let the negative spaces and soundscapes take command of the foreground, only layering in vocals when they’re needed. The fluidity with which they switch between the two, alongside the careful yet complex composition of the instruments is a marked sign of a talented group of song writers and musicians.
While many will lazily pigeonhole Latitudes into the label of ‘post-whatever’, they encompass so much more than that, and ‘Old Sunlight’ provides a diverse array of emotion and suspense filled songs, while remaining consistent in the quality of the music. Each song sees a further development and progression within the writing and, at a mere 45 minutes, will leave you wishing it were longer.
(9/10 Angela Davey)