Release Date: Apr 20, 2018
Record label: Republic
Calling your third album Vide Noir is a bold move. Not only does it immediately present a needed translation, but once done so, presents you with one of humanities biggest fears - a black void. So, how do Lord Huron approach such grandiose ideas? Rather spectacularly actually. The ethereal harp and choral vocals twinned gently plucked strings that ring in this third outing immediately project ideas that may sit on a station way out of reach, but it feels like Vide Noir isn't supposed to be received this way.
Vide Noir may be Lord Huron‘s third album, but it feels as if the stars are aligning for them to make some kind of breakthrough. The hype has been steadily building for this Los Angeles based quartet, ranging from a Ryan Adams tweet in September where he described them as “perfection” and asked “how are they not as big as any band?” to their song The Night We Met playing a key role in Netflix’s TV show Thirteen Reasons Why. For their major label debut – Vide Noir is the band’s first release on Universal – Ben Schneider and company seem to have stepped up a gear, sonically speaking.
Dave Fridmann's presence was detectable early on. When Lord Huron decided to release the one-two simultaneous punch known as "Ancient Names"— Parts I and II— as singles leading up to the release of their new album, Vide Noir, the sonic differences were striking. At the core, each of Vide Noir's songs hold the same grounded grooves fans and critics have come to appreciate from their first two albums, Lonesome Dreams (2012) and Strange Trails (2015).
It's a claim sometimes made about Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, but more apt of Lord Huron's Ben Schneider: The man could have made a fortune writing songs that sound like Mumford & Sons and didn't. Vernon and his permanent critical darling status are doing fine, though, while Schneider's band goes somewhat under appreciated. Lord Huron surfaced a little too late to be counted among the last canonically popular indie guitar acts, and worse, they exude a kind of retrograde sci-fi camp that just doesn't fit any tastemaking rubric this side of wizard rock.