As you may expect from the title of the long anticipated debut LP from the Newcastle sextet there is a considerable focus on the sea and the imagery surrounding this. But not only that, the beautiful and terrifying expanse of ebbing and flowing tides too stands as a metaphor for disparate emotional states, situation, memory and hope.
There are connections aplenty with this band (each member somehow embroiled in the life of another whether sibling, partner, old school friend…) and disparities too as they unfurl a beautiful collection of melancholic shoegaze that takes pickings from the folk genre, cinematic soundscape artists such as Sigur Ros, counterweighing it with the raucous atmospherics of Low – whom all six members hail a mutual influence – alongside subtle electronica.
Following up their heralded EPs Misfortunes & Minor Victories and Starlight, Lanterns on the Lake debuted at this year’s SXSW and returned to continue their live shows tucked into dark and quirky corners; performing at boathouses and the Tan Hill Inn, famously, Britain’s highest pub. Similarly their recording efforts eek out in isolated Northumbrian houses, steeped in atmosphere and memory. “You only get to make your debut once so we wanted it to be personal and honest and special…so we recorded everything in our own houses again”, guitarist and vocalist Hazel Long states.
Having signed to Bella Union before Christmas last year Gracious Tide, Take Me Home, features eight new tracks as well as reworkings of older numbers. ‘A Kingdom‘ taken from Misfortunes… is one of these, racing away with itself, it’s tinny drummed tempo the fluttering heart of the album, and too proving the band can take things up a notch from their luscious, gauzy layerings if need be. Awash with nautical semblances ‘Ships in the Rain”s opening refrain “My body’s an anchor, I’m lost to the sea”, alludes to the story of a local fishermen missing at sea, and at only two minutes in length it concludes itself in a chanting eulogy to the lost. While Starlight’s ‘If I’ve Been Unkind‘, fuses soft electronics with delicate piano, violin and guitar as Adam Sykes subtle Northern tones bring a contrast Long’s Hope Sandoval reminiscent vocals.
Retaining the personality of the band and their humble environs, it was produced by guitarist Paul Gregory and captures the tiniest of sounds on the tape deck; ‘Keep on Trying’ creaks and cracks with background shufflings, while the overall feel is intimate and honest; there are stories of friendship and home, memories and moving on. Gracious Tide, Take Me Home proves Lanterns on the Lake to be a band on the rise, the kind of artists evoking the coldest and darkest of wintery nights and that flickering light in the distance. Dark melancholic sounds tinged with a hopefulness inspite of the disconsolation their stories often harbour.
Video: You’re Almost There
Released on September 19, 2011 (Bella Union)
Gracious Tide, Take Me Home