Lanterns On The Lake – Reviewed

Christopher Brown finds his cockles well and truly warmed by a band on the verge of crossover success.

Standing in Static Gallery on a Thursday night in January, with only a can of icy-cold Red Stripe to keep the chill out, is not always the way you might want to spend your evening. Not that such concerns would dampen the spirits of an audience here that was close to being a full house for Indie Folk up-and-comers Lanterns On The Lake.

The group, signed to well thought of indieĀ Bella Union, are just on the cusp of going big. Buzz has reached the point now, for the Newcastle sextet, that it seems they are underselling themselves with a gig where you still see the band hanging around the merchandise stall trying to sell their own t-shirts.

They were supported by TJ & Murphy, and The Big House, both of which provided a suitably lo-fi, rootsy start to proceedings. Most notable was The Big House, the new (ish) collaboration between Candie Payne and former Zutons guitaritst Paul Molloy. There is a fun poppy element to the stripped down sound, although with their retro look the entire thing appeared like a Scouse Sonny and Cher.

You’d think then that Lanterns On The Lake would be similar, but theirs is a far more layered affair than the supports. Opener Lungs Quicken has a thick electronic sound to it which loops over singer Hazel Wilde’s soft, almost whispered, vocals. The entire thing carries a vulnerability to it while still maintaining a powerful drive.

That was quickly followed by If I’ve Been Unkind. Displaying the other sound of the band, a far more basic pop affair with singer Adam Sykes, rocking an incredible moustache, taking the lead vocal.

The band works at its best when it gets a growing powerful beat behind it. Tracks Tricks and You’re Almost There are far more robust and meaty live than on their debut record Gracious Tide, Take Me Home.

That said it’s easy to get lost in the beauty of the moment. A Kingdom combines all their best elements, from swooning swings, murmured lyrics and an escalating beat. They even have an electric guitar played with a bow to really give the feeling they are trying something different.

The thing that really stands out is how assured and confident the band are. The songs might be all be about vulnerability but for a band still pushing their debut album they are obviously ready and capable of taking the next step. Expect them to flourish in 2012.

Christopher Brown


Posted on 21/01/2012 by thedoublenegative