Monday, January 21, 2019

The Stan Laurels - Maybe

Nobody could accuse John Lathrop of writing standard boy-meets-girl scenarios for his power pop songs. The vocalist/multi-instrumentalist performs under the name The Stan Laurels, but the humor that drifts through Maybe (available at Kool Kat Musik) is more cryptic and satirical than old-time slapstick. It’s the soundtrack for the indie film Maybe Shower, and Lathrop crafts an ironic ambience by matching off-kilter lyrics with gorgeous melodies and layered vocals.

A casual listener might take “Sanity” for a romantic power ballad but Lathrop is serving up couplets like, “I bet you can tell by looking at my face/I have no more tolerance for this stupid place.” On the guitar-driven “Life, Lemons and an Alien,” he offers a clever take on the “when life gives you lemons” adage by suggesting that life sometimes gives you someone who seems to be from another planet. The title track, a catchy mix of guitars and synthesizer, suggests we’re better off just going with the flow.

Lathrop’s use of slow-moving arrangements feels a bit repetitive, no matter how well they’re crafted. At least “Poly Sigh,” a song about adjusting to a menage-a-trois, picks up energy as it moves along. “Door #1” brings Maybe to an energetic close, even though Lathrop is no closer to telling us what it all means.

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