Lanterns On The Lake | Until The Colours Run
by Amanda Penlington
Newcastle’s Lanterns on the Lake return with Until The Colours Run after the success of their debut Gracious Tide, Take Me Home. The band always had an ear for detailed arrangements but on this latest release the sonic palette of Lanterns on the Lake has developed further, enabling the band to weave richly textured vignettes within vast landscapes.
Opening song Elodie builds a majestic sweep with its propulsive percussion and flourishes of strings. The band pulls back to enable Hazel Wilde’s enchanting vocals to shine and touches of piano and tambourine add extra sparkle. The band displays a great understanding of the power of confinement and release as the track ebbs and surges at various points across its four and a half minutes.
The band’s understanding of the power of drawing towards a climax is made even more evident in The Ghost That Sleeps In Me. It begins in a rather distant fashion with a mono-esque crackle as rippling piano, low bowed and pizzicato strings, and a relaxed, almost jazzy, rhythm take to the stage. The entrance of Wilde’s vocals is intimate, yet her voice retains an ethereal grace, an unearthly sweetness, which sings of “the end of the real thing”. It’s a mist hanging over a river, weaving its way between low hanging trees. The song teeters on a quiet precipice after the second chorus. Then the piano, cymbals, and strings rush forward with the addition of woozy muted brass for a devastating middle eight. It’s a controlled cacophony, a plunge into the confusion of the deeply murky water that lies beneath the pretty surface. The emotional effect of this swell is almost overwhelming, precisely because of the fragility of what goes before.
Whilst The Ghost That Sleeps In Me conjures up the universal, the organic and the emotional, the band takes a different tack on Another Tale From Another English Town. Here socio-political concerns take to the fore as Wilde sings of the depression of communities generated by vindictive government policies: “it’s getting hard to breathe ’round here, to think ’round here… they won’t stop ’til they see us in the ground”. The arrangement tells a story of defiance as a melodic lead guitar line leads the way, backed by crisp percussion and the gut-wrenching pull of bowed strings.
Until The Colours Run is one of the most intricate and affecting albums you’ll hear all year. It is born of intoxicating melodies and meaningful lyrics. And its sincere performance and finely-orchestrated arrangements touch the heart without veering into sentimentality. If you’re not moved by Until The Colours Run you’ve probably lost the capacity to feel anything.
Until The Colours Run is released on October 7th.
Pre-order via Bella Union.