Originally formed in Newcastle in 2007, Lanterns On The Lake combine dreamy, melancholic Indie rock with beautiful layers of texture and celestial melodies that thread around intricate instrumentation.
Their fourth studio album Spook The Herd was released in February 2020 to critical acclaim and earned a place on the shortlist for the Mercury Prize. Recorded live where possible, the band’s natural touchstones of gauzy dream-pop and monumental post rock still float in the air on this album.
Spook the Herd sees Hazel Wilde’s voice and preoccupations rise to the fore like never before. In tandem, the band break new ground on a set of songs that are unavoidably direct – and crucial. Wilde does nothing less than dive headlong into the existential crises of our times, and proves herself a songwriter possessed of a rare talent for finding the personal contours to contemporary issues.
The nine songs turn the microscope to our hopelessly polarized politics, social media, addiction, grief and the climate crisis. Yet Wilde’s romantic streak is still the record’s beating heart and shines a hopeful beam of light into the darkness.
The band’s sound has been beautifully winnowed into something more pared back, urgent and direct, with songs full of arresting intimacy. “Swimming Lessons” is writhing and supple as Gregory’s arpeggiated guitar dovetails with Ol Ketteringham’s pulsating drumming and Wilde’s keening vocal, while “Every Atom” rides on insistent beats which lay a bed for a warped and playfully robotic guitar line.
Lanterns on the Lake, completed by bassist Bob Allan and viola player Angela Chan, have always known how to cannily manipulate texture and space. But rarely before have they captured such sheer presence. Stripping layers away, unearthing their essence, proves to be a new alchemy as their sound is writ large at its boldest.