In my previous job, I worked as a presenter for new music station Amazing Radio. One of the first songs I had the opportunity to play on my folk-themed show was the wonderful track Giants, by North East ‘digital orchestra’ (as I call them), Lanterns on the Lake. One of my biggest regrets of my time in the North is that I missed the opportunity to see the band perform – on not one, but two occasions.
It is while I listen to the band’s debut record, Gracious Tide, Take Me Home, that I particularly regret this considerable oversight. From the opening track and former single ‘Lungs Quicken’, the band immerse you in waves of luxurious, luscious sound that mixes the ambience of a string section with layered breathy vocals and the crackle of digital effects. It is hypnotic to the state of euphoria – with the third track ‘Keep on Trying’ a perfect representation of this unique mix. At the midpoint of the album, natural opener ‘A Kingdom’ kicks in and brings new energy to the record, reminding you with lashes of staccato strings and organs that the band are not just of the chill-out persuasion, but are thrillingly versatile too.
To make the sound easier to imagine, I would describe band’s progressive sound as Bird-York-meets-Tuung with shades of new Leeds-based act Pengilly’s – not that I imagine any of the aforementioned artists to be inspirations of any sort. Their sound is a brilliant example of the experimental nature of the North East music scene, that sees large collectives mixing more traditionally classical instruments with a pop aesthetic (The Union Choir) and subtly electronic enhancements (Grandfather Birds, Mammal Club).
Lanterns on the Lake set themselves apart from their regional counterparts, however, on the sheer scale of the sound they create. The production must also be commended for seemingly handling the multiple elements and blending so seamlessly it would be easy to overlook the task at hand – this could quite easily be the most uplifting record of the year for production values alone. Do your mind, body and soul a favour and invest in a copy.
Words: Frankie Ward