Until The Colours Run

Lanterns On The Lake

Bella Union Records, 2013


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


How does one filter through the myriad indie rock bands from the UK to find one worth the time and investment? I wish I had an answer. What I do know is that a few select labels from the area rarely disappoint, and Bella Union is at the top of that short list. One of the louder bands on their roster is the five-piece group Lanterns On The Lake, who has done great things since their inception in 2007; among these is their excellent sophomore album my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Until The Colours Run.

In a very real sense, this album is the soundtrack to a band on the cusp of breaking up. Financial problems, personal strife and a battery of usual band dilemmas gave front woman Hazel Wilde plenty of songwriting material, and the band took that lead and soaked it in reverb and more forceful sounds as well as their acclaimed softer, indie folk sounds.

Evidence of this is obvious with the giant prog rock feel of the opener "Elodie," though it quickly fades into a hushed tone, with Wilde's breathy vocals navigating a tense vibe that erupts back into loud alt-rock. "The Buffalo Days" follows and is a bit tamer, though it still has explosive moments of melody and power. Meanwhile, the title track "Until The Colours Run" is an imaginative '80s dream-pop gem that could easily make Lanterns On The Lake a mainstream name.

Of the softer songs, "Green And Gold" is the strongest, a solemn piano ballad that is nothing short of heartbreaking. "Picture Show" isn't long after and also approaches balladry, but this time is a hazier, fuller maudlin moment. The album ends with two songs right between the loudness of the first couple tunes and the subdued tones of the middle tracks, as both "Our Cool Decay" and "Another Tale From Another English Town" could sit comfortable on today's modern rock stations.

Though the band lost a couple original members due to the aforementioned problems, including their main vocalist, Wilde has no problem holding down vocal duties on her own. And between the dual guitars, keys, violins, and the ever so atmospheric and multi-layered rock sounds that complement the graceful yet troubled waters superbly, never does the band sound like it's missing anything. Until The Colours Run seems more like a band flourishing than dissipating.

Rating: A-

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