Ever since their formation in Newcastle back in 2007, Lanterns on the Lake have been cautious to keep their production in-house, even after signing with a label that would provide funds to use whatever studio they pleased.
That kind of independence is always admirable, but here on their fourth album, they’ve finally ventured outside of their comfort zone and handed engineer Joss Worthington (the Membranes, Pete Coe) the reigns to take things off in new, more polished directions.
And polished it is: There’s no significant changes in the music, but thanks to Worthington they emerge with a solid set of songs distinguished by rich, dreamy, acoustic-electronic textures and singer Hazel Wilde’s brooding lyricism. Alongside atmospheric keys, noir-like electric guitar, and loose, echoing drums, there’s a cautionary vibe that addresses the increased political and racial issues we’re seeing more and more of on the news.
“Baddies” opens with the lyrics “Don’t look now/Here come the baddies/On a wave of hate.” Similarly merging hypnotic soundscapes and simmering tension are tracks with titles like “This Is Not a Drill” and “Blue Screen Beams.” Coming as something of a respite, the simply lovely “Every Atom” sparkles like the band’s namesake, like shimmering reflections at night.
Four albums in and now with some solid production values in their back pocket, “Spook the Herd” shows just how Lanterns on the Lake are becoming one of the most consistent acts in the business.
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