Until the Colours Runby Lanterns on the Lake
After the release of their wonderful 2011 debut, Gracious Tide, Take Me Home, Lanterns on the Lake dropped off the radar as personal and financial strife took over. The wonderful cinematic soundscapes on second album Until the Colours Run are less focused on the hometown musings that dominated their first effort; here they delve deeper into darker, introspective moods that unfurl into surging guitars and rolling drums reminiscent of Explosions in the Sky, while Paul Gregory's arrangements nod toward the foraging chamber pop of Arcade Fire -- complete with occasional keys, strings, and horns. One slight change that makes a striking difference was giving Hazel Wilde full vocal control. She'd previously shared vocal duties with Gregory, but here her haunting, hushed tones alone fills the empty spaces with delicate melodies that swirl gently between the ethereal instrumentation. Created during a time of austerity in the U.K., Until the Colours Run struggles between exuberant musical expressions and the sense of frustration, disappointment, and sadness that manifests in Wilde's lyrics. This is perfectly exemplified in the two-toned "Another Tale from Another English Town," which broods and twists into a frenzy of strings and guitars, while Wilde laments "we've been sold a thousand lies this year." Much of the praise for their debut was their ability to produce beautiful, slow-burning tracks, and "Picture Show" draws into a steady, hypnotic lull here, while "The Buffalo Days" personifies the unsettled and demoralized atmosphere that dominates the album. Intimate piano ballad "Green and Gold" was recorded in one live take by Wilde. Using the natural imperfections of a live recording -- from the studio cleaner gently shutting the door midway to the unforced breaks in Wilde's voice -- the track encapsulates the genuine heartbreak and lament her lyrics convey. Lanterns on the Lake allow themselves to build on and expand the sound of their debut for Until the Colours Run, bursting open at times with purpose, while drawing on the cinematic sounds and folk storytelling that bind together a magnificent collection of tracks.
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