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Old 10-01-2021, 11:56 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally posted in Trollheart's Listening List, December 13 2015

Note: For those unfamiliar with my colour coding, at the time this was the key I used.
Terrible Meh Great Wonderful

The big red number refers to the album's position in the artist's discography (in this case, third) and the little guys with the headphones at the end, well I assume that's self-explanatory.

Title: Beings
Artist: Lanterns on the Lake
Year 2015
Nationality: English
Genre: Indie Rock
Familiarity: I've heard and loved Gracious Tide, Take Me Home
Expectations: I don't know. There were mixed reviews for the followup, Until the Colours Run, but I've not yet heard that. I'm hoping this will be more in the style of the debut than the second album. Either way it will be great to hear Hazel again.

1. Of dust and matter: After some radio-tuning noises and effects we're greeted by a single acoustic guitar strumming slowly, and then that angelic voice of Hazel Wilde, with crying synth rising behind her like some sort of banshee. Beautiful lonely piano now as Hazel's voice rises in passion, and it's a strong, strong start and augurs well for the rest of the album. Rolling percussion and really sprinkly piano as we rise towards the conclusion of the song.
2. I'll stall them: Beautiful piano and sweet trumpet leads this in, then it gets pretty passionate and powerful as it goes along, Hazel's soulful voice taking command with a great sort of again crying synth counterpointing the brass and making this just something quite special.
3. Faultlines: More uptempo with some busy percussion and rolling piano, a stronger vocal from Hazel but I feel it could end at the three minute mark whereas it continues on to five. It's not that it's overstretched, as such, but it does seem a little unnecessarily long. Still a great track though.
4. The crawl: The first since the opener to begin on guitar, joined then by Hazel's piano and another ethereal vocal. Love the sort of militaristic drumbeat that is somehow both incongruous and exactly fits. That rising synth (I'm beginning to wonder if it's guitar?) is back and it slots right into the feel of the song.
5. Send me home: Wondering if that's violin accompanying the piano at the opening of this ballad? Short but beautiful, the way LotL do so well.
6. Through the cellar door: Kind of a slightly Prefab idea about this I feel; midpaced with a really nice just gently riffing guitar that then bursts out in a quite unexpected punch, taking the song by the scruff before Hazel and her piano re-establish order. Nice to be shaken up once in a while.
7. Beings: If there's one thing apart from Hazel's voice that makes Lanterns on the Lake so special, it's her exceptional skill on the piano, and here she demonstrates it once again, almost without guile, like someone saying “Yeah, I can do this. So?” Almost as if it's not a big deal. Talk about self-effacing. More beautiful synth and rolling drums. Just gorgeous. Wonderful rising - I don't know: guitar? Vocal? Synth? Just beautiful.
8. Stepping down: I think there's some scratching going on here, or maybe it's samples, but against the serene piano line it really is so effective, almost like listening to the wind howling outside on a cold night as you sit by a nice warm fire. Has a very ambient feel to it.
9. Stuck for an outline: This is where Hazel shows she can coax some real power and almost anger out of her keyboard. Violin added in from Angela Chang helps to calm the song slightly, but there's an unaccustomed bitternness in Hazel's vocal here. Powerful percussive ending that almost, but not quite, shakes the overall feeling of serenity this album gives me.
10. Inkblot: This short track takes ethereal to a new level and is an amazing if slightly muted closer.

Final result: I'm sort of sorry that I have yet to hear Until the Colours Run, as I might have been able to say this is three for three; LotL got a lot of praise for Gracious Tide.. and sometimes we know the one thing music critics love is to kick their darlings, so the negative reviews of Colours might have been some backlash, the expected thing, the reaction to the dreaded second album: we'd better trash them or we won't be cool. Or maybe it was a disappointment, I don't know. But this one certainly isn't, and leading in my case anyway on from Gracious Tide, Take Me Home it's a pretty phenomenal followup.

Rating: and a half

(Sorry; almost all the tracks on YT are unplayable in my country, so this is the only one I could get.)
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018

Last edited by Trollheart; 10-01-2021 at 12:02 PM.
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