Late Greats: Lather’s A Modest Proposal


latherThis little gem from 1993 is about the closest anyone came in Louisville in the early 90’s to achieving the “alternative” sound that was gripping the nation and catapulting bands onto MTV over night. Don’t hold that against it, though. The influences are all obvious enough, and the youthful angst here deserves a capital “A.” But Lather’s only full length record (it’s really a long EP and a short EP thrown together in one collection) deserves mention because of a handful of positive qualities: dueling vocals, strong power pop melodies, and adept musicianship.

The record leads off with “The Draw,” a prime example of the Lather sound, the chorus featuring the aforementioned dueling vocals and a few time signature shifts that the band manages to pull off without notice from the casual listener. Also on show here is the band’s ability to add a genuine emotional edge to the music without coming off emo. It’s all rather lovely. Moving on, the band launches into “Sorry,” which features some excellent twin guitar work, followed by the mini-epic “Blindfold.” This was the song that really grabbed me as a kid. Though it begins as a catchy pop-punk tune, it closes in dark fashion, providing a strong lead-in to the first EP’s autumnal second half. “Yarn”, the fourth track, shows the kind of musical depth the band is really capable of, throwing old-school metal sensibilites into the mix. “Equinox” is a pretty acoustic track that slows things down, and “Suddenly” picks things up and closes the first EP in strong fashion.

“Confession” is the seventh track, probably the best song the band recorded, brimming with power and melody. At a couple of points the band almost sounds like it will lose control of the song. Particularly noteworthy is Brian Kaelin’s bass work – it really stands out and lends the band its signature sound. “Impaled” is good, but is overshadowed by the power of “Confession.” The record ends with the obtuse pop-punk of “Spitting Cell” and the nebulous and forgettable “Insolence.”

Overall, A Modest Proposal is a memorable record for a few tracks: “Blindfold”, “Equinox”, “Confession”, and “Spitting Cell.” These tracks alone show a band that might have been MTV darlings in the early 90’s had they cared to stick around long enough and tighten up their sound a bit.

Anyone else out there remember Lather?

PS Looks like you can buy it from Noise Pollution Records.

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