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Back in 2018, when I was counting down my favourite tunes of 2011, “Lungs quicken” from Lanterns on the Lake’s debut album, “Gracious tide, take me home” came in at number twenty-five on said list. I mused, then, at how perfect their name was, in terms of how it forewarned of what you would experience should you take the chance to listen to their music. “Lungs quicken”, and many of the tracks on their debut, evoked the image of “candles in paper lanterns, hundreds of them, maybe thousands, just visible in the mist out on the grey lake. And then the wind whips up, the music builds in volume and gusto, and the lanterns jostle on the waves, crashing and splashing but not going out.”
“Elodie”, the song of today’s focus, is also an opening track by the band but in this case, off their sophomore record, “Until the colours run”. And if the band were looking to forewarn of the change in sound, a portent of another coming sea storm perhaps, they succeeded here.
The indie pop band from Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, had lost a couple members, brothers Brendan and Adam Ian Sykes, since their first album. They replaced Brendan with Bob Allen on bass but the other brother would have been much more difficult to replace since he co-led on vocals on much of the debut, so instead the band chose not to. Hazel Wilde took sole responsibility for vocal duties moving forward and that seems like it gave the band more direction. Interestingly, there’s less electronic trickery* on “Until the colours run” and more focus on the stringed instruments and at the same time, Wilde’s vocals seem less fragile and more assured.
“Forget the barricades
We’re four years too late
And all your mother’s words
Strength’s not in numbers”
“Elodie” starts the album with a feedback warning and if you didn’t heed it, you’d run headlong into the brick wall of guitar noise that follows. Then, just when thought you’d need to come up for air, the guitars fade to echo, replaced with the high speed ticking of a clock, the tentative dabs on the piano keys, and Wilde’s plaintive tones. Of course, the guitars make a return and there’s this delicious push and pull between the angry noise and the delicate strings and inferred beauty. Whoever this Elodie was, she has invoked a lot of passion and for this, we can be thankful.
*The “folktronica” is all but gone.
For the rest of the Best tunes of 2013 list, click here.