As Hazel Wilde dances between the delicate strikes of her piano keys on “The Ghost That Sleeps In Me,” a standout track within Lanterns On The Lake’s sophomore album, Until The Colours Run, you bear witness to a loss lying within her, delivered in a near confessional nature. She sings, “Is this a dying trait/The end of the real thing/A life, a long crusade,” in a track admittedly dealing with the difficulties of being in a current band, your spirit and motivation often in flux. This tumultuous candor continues throughout the LP, providing listeners with an honest, thoughtful experience, in which the moments of sunshine are that much more impactful when considering the darkness often surrounding them.
The previously mentioned “Ghost” deserves more than a lyrical mention, as it truly is one of the album’s best. Subdued instrumentation — Wilde’s work on the piano accompanied by Ol Ketteringham’s occasional percussion — eventually gives way to a gorgeous outro, each instance of the repeated arrangement altered ever so slightly. The end result paints a fragile, delicate picture of artistic spirit. “Green and Gold” stands near the top of the band’s discography, as well, while again giving the spotlight to Wilde. The keys, more booming than delicate this time around, accompany the whispered lines, “You meet the love of your life one day in early December/Hands gripped to her hips, as all eyes fixed to the stage/If ever I saw hope in all of its glory/Well this is the part where you picked up and started again,” before finishing with “You learn love is not a fleeting thing.” The track is filled to the brim with similar displays of devastating sincerity, as she continues, “To the one that I love who I’ll miss and I’ll always remember/Tell him I’ve changed in ways that I wish he could see/That I live alone, but I’m still doing the music.”
“Picture Show” is more haunting than anything, written and recorded within the throngs of insomnia. The results, almost dreamlike in its use of filters, is perhaps what the band members believed rest to be at that point. The use of a real crackling fire can only add to this sentiment. “Another Tale From Another English Town” is yet another track dealing with possibly depressing subject matter. The Newcastle natives pull no punches in the portrayal of an economic downturn occurring in their part of the country, as Wilde sings, “It’s getting hard to breathe around here/To think around here/And we’ve been sold a thousand lies this year.”
The title track, meanwhile, is the most outward attempt at pure pop, and is yet another aimed at social injustices. Wilde pleads with listeners, explaining that our “greatest crime” would be silence in the face of related issues. The inspirational piece would certainly require a radio edit, though, if it was to truly be a hit, as a subdued outro extends for nearly 2 minutes.
The album doesn’t have too many misses, but the tracklisting does leave something to desired. The closer, “Cool Decay,” is something belonging more in the middle of the proceedings, with the conclusion of other tracks more worthy of the attention. By ending with this selection, though, we do receive some lyrical closure, as Wilde sings of “the flash of another love,” possibly hinting at brighter days to come.
Sound Quality: Cut at 45 RPM, with plenty of breathing room on each side, the dense, layered album is properly represented. The percussion isn’t buried, which is especially nice in a track like “Buffalo Days,” in which so much is transpiring. In other words, amidst a flurry of bright guitars and Sarah Kemp’s sweeping strings, the low end is not forgotten. There is some surface noise, but when spinning your copy, you have to be careful as to what “pops” and “cracks” are actually part of the album. Songs like “The Ghost That Sleeps In Me” and “Picture Show” have that vintage feel actually in the recording and in these cases, Wilde’s delicate voice escaping through the turntable only adds to the experience. Wait until your neighbors are gone; crank this album up to max volume; and enjoy the full spectrum of sound.
Packaging: The 2xLP set is housed in a gatefold jacket, with credits listed on the inside of the 4-panels. No lyrics are given, which is quite a disappointment, especially considering the difficulties that come with understanding some of Wilde’s vocals. You can understand not placing them inside the gatefold, as the front artwork extends through the presentation, but an insert was certainly needed. Besides this misstep, the white vinyl records are placed inside of white inner sleeves and the material making up the jacket is not cheap. The jackets could benefit from being slightly larger, though, as it’s a little tough moving the discs in and out of the package. A CD is included.
Summary: Until The Colours Run, the sophomore full length album from Lanterns On The Lake is an honest, emotional journey in which the indie-rock outfit willingly lets the listener in on what appears to be some pretty legitimate turmoil. Ethereal instrumentation, along with often poignant lyricism makes for an album not to be missed. The vinyl pressing has impressive sound quality, but the lack of lyrics hurts the packaging put together by Bella Union.
Make Sure To Spin: “The Ghost That Sleeps In Me,” “Green and Gold” and “Until The Colours Run”
You can still pick up the record over at Amazon.