After the release of much-hyped EPs and a studio album, Newcastle-based band Lanterns On The Lake was rocked by the departure of two band members and the increasingly torrid political climate in the U.K. Until The Colours Run, their heavily anticipated sophomore LP, features atmospheric, post-rock-influenced guitars matched with airy, delicate vocals and dreamy piano arrangements. It’s a wonderfully beautiful combination at its heights, but Until The Colours Run never soars as much as it feels like it should.
These songs crescendo, swell, and swoon, often anchored by member Sara Kemp’s magnificent string arrangements. Vocalist Hazel Wilde proves to be a formidable frontwoman, taking on full vocal duties after co-vocalist Adam Sykes left the band. She ranges from breathy staccato on the woefully downbeat “The Ghost Sleeps Inside Me” to a Jonsi-esque falsetto on the soaring “You Soon Learn”, proving her versatility despite those tracks not being memorable. In fact, too often the band gets lost in its own wallowing, with every obligatory soaring crescendo feeling less cathartic with each passing track.
Lanterns on the Lake works best when picking up the tempo and venturing into more uplifting territory. For instance, after the sinewy guitar explosion near the end of the mournful opener “Elodie”, the band dives into “The Buffalo Days”, the album’s loudest, most chaotic offering, with lush guitars and dark opening line, “when this started, I was living like an animal and I didn’t have a hope in hell.” Highlight “Until The Colours Run” effectively follows this route without getting bogged down in similar messy business.
Lanterns On The Lake have largely tightened up after losing those bandmates, leaving behind some of the meandering that plagued their debut, Gracious Tide, Take Me Home. Despite this, the newly-reconfigured group has trouble venturing out of their comfort zone, and though they do their brand of pensive, romantic tunes well, the songs run the risk of being too repetitive. With the pieces not yet there, Lanterns On The Lake is still an immensely promising band that’s one risky move away releasing a stunning album and filling stadiums.
Essential Tracks: “Until The Colours Run”, “Another Tale From Another English Town”, and “Our Cool Decay”