Release Date: Jan 14, 2014
Record label: Bella Union
Already released at home in the UK in October of last year, Lanterns on the Lake's second studio album, Until the Colours Run, finds the Newcastle-upon-Tyne indie rock outfit exploring an even more expansive sonic palette. Anchored by the cinematic piano compositions of chief-songwriter Hazel Wilde — who seems to have learned vocals from the Bilinda Butcher School for Barely Audible Singing — and the ambient excursions of lead guitarist Paul Gregory, rarely has an album about England's eroding economy and cultural upheaval sounded so exquisitely triumphant. Starting with the Slowdive-by-way-of-Yann Tiersen operatic opener "Elodie" and sophomore album standout "The Buffalo Days," dive-bombing guitars and symphonic climaxes quickly give way to Wilde's plaintive take on piano-based slowcore (the shoegaze-evoking "The Ghost That Sleeps In Me," mid-set breather "Green and Gold").
After the release of their wonderful 2011 debut, Gracious Tide, Take Me Home, Lanterns on the Lake dropped off the radar as personal and financial strife took over. The wonderful cinematic soundscapes on second album Until the Colours Run are less focused on the hometown musings that dominated their first effort; here they delve deeper into darker, introspective moods that unfurl into surging guitars and rolling drums reminiscent of Explosions in the Sky, while Paul Gregory's arrangements nod toward the foraging chamber pop of Arcade Fire -- complete with occasional keys, strings, and horns. One slight change that makes a striking difference was giving Hazel Wilde full vocal control.
In 2009, Lanterns on the Lake launched their self-released Misfortunes and Minor Victories EP with a show at Ouseburn’s Boathouse (a delightful venue in an industrial regeneration area of Newcastle). The attendance was such that it was clear something was happening. The band seemed too complete to be constrained by their locality, too ambitious to slink back to the shadows and too invested in their art to be dragged back to a conventional profession.
With sustained excellence in its release schedule for the last several years, Bella Union appears to have joined the likes of 4AD and Moshi Moshi where simply the label’s name is a guarantee of quality. Simon Raymonde and his team have already released the likes of John Grant, Fleet Foxes and Beach House, and two years ago introduced us to Newcastle quintet Lanterns On The Lake‘s debut album Gracious Tide, Take Me Home. That debut was a startling record in many ways – Paul Gregory’s powerful arrangements had echoes of the likes of Sigur Rós and Arcade Fire, and proved the perfect counterpoint to Hazel Wilde’s fragile yet powerful vocals.
Bella Union, the record label on which Lanterns on the Lake's sophomore album Until the Colours Run is released, is run by Simon Raymonde, formerly of dreampop pioneers Cocteau Twins. This is telling, because the band's sound has always not so much borrowed from the Scottish trio as dressed in woollen knitwear and gone to a fancy dress party as it. .
It’s a well worn rock ‘n’ roll cliché that personal adversity often makes for compelling music. You can add Lanterns on the Lake‘s Until the Colours Run to the list of albums that seem to have reaped artistic benefits from the dire straits in which they were created. The Newcastle, England dream-folk band’s initial EPs and debut album, Gracious Tide, Take Me Home (2011), were well received but sold modestly.
Lanterns on the Lake’s second album Until the Colours Run is borne of loss, turmoil and doubt on every level: Adam and Brendan Sykes left the UK quintet following their 2011 debut Gracious Tide, Take Me Home, the remaining members were scrambling to finish the record with almost no financial resources. Singer Hazel Wilde has cited the grim economic outlook of her homeland as a main lyrical influence. And so, there you have it—Until the Colours Run certainly doesn’t lack for external drama, serving as both a make-or-break album and a reintroduction.
Lanterns on the Lake's second album is like a dreamscape, shimmering with soft tremolo guitars, big, reverby drums and dense orchestration. Hazel Wilde softly sings about hardships and uncertainty, and you believe her, especially once you learn that the band was in financial trouble while making the album. Until The Colours Run begins intensely with Elodie, a rhythmically arresting song that gives way to light drum tapping and Wilde's plaintive coo.
The two years between the release of Lanterns on the Lake’s debut ‘Gracious Tide, Take Me Home’ and ‘Until the Colours Run’ has seen the band lose two members in the shape of Adam and Brendan Sykes, but gain a bassist in the process. The influence of this latest addition is perhaps most obvious in the electrifying ‘Elodie’, awash with chiming guitars and soaring post-rock soundscapes more associated normally with Explosions in the Sky. Whilst this is a temporary diversion away from the band’s traditional lavish sounding mix of shoe gaze rock and electronics, it is a showcase of their defiance against a turbulent period of time that nearly saw them implode.
After the release of much-hyped EPs and a studio album, Newcastle-based band Lanterns On The Lake was rocked by the departure of two band members and the increasingly torrid political climate in the U.K. Until The Colours Run, their heavily anticipated sophomore LP, features atmospheric, post-rock-influenced guitars matched with airy, delicate vocals and dreamy piano arrangements. It’s a wonderfully beautiful combination at its heights, but Until The Colours Run never soars as much as it feels like it should.
Lanterns on the Lake – Until the Colours Run (Bella Union)It’s been a bit more than two years since Lanterns on the Lake’s full-length debut, Gracious Tide, Take Me Home. In the interim, the band has shed two members (Adam and Brendan Sykes) and refocused its sound around two core elements.The first of these is Hazel Wilde’s singing, certainly an important factor in the band’s earlier work, but here far more to the forefront (She used to share the mic with the departed Adam Sykes). She dominates in that odd way that a fragile, flickery singer can dominate–not by force but persuasion.
Back in 2011, Lanterns On The Lake finally turned in a debut full-length, fully four years after their inception; Gracious Tide, Take Me Home was deservedly well-received, but the band disappeared back into the wilderness shortly after its release. Given the period of financial and personal turmoil that followed, with lineup changes calling the group’s future into question, it’s probably surprising that they’ve managed to produce a follow-up quite so soon. Not that the intervening years have had no effect on the Lanterns outlook; Until the Colours Run is a record underscored by the nervousness that defined the time of its conception.