Carried along on a wave of elegant, dewy-eyed romantic folk, Gracious Tide, Take Me Home is the debut album from Newcastle natives Lanterns On The Lake. Born from the embers of various local bands, the six-piece’s atmospheric leanings mine the rippling, plaintive, hazy and electronic tinged oeuvres of Sigur Rós, Múm and Low whilst avoiding an overly derivative sound.
Sonically the swooning dual vocals, sweeping strings, epic guitars, delicate glockenspiel chimes and understated synths combine to create a rich full length whose breadth ranges from densely melancholic numbers to cautiously sensual and hopeful melodies. Album highlight and previous single You’re Almost There, for example, opens with heartbreaking minor piano keys before a sparse instrumental landscape lends itself to Hazel Wilde’s desperately longing vocals whilst A Kingdom unfortunately finds itself in more obviously, tiresomely predictable pop/folk territory with a catchy chorus, layered female/male vocals and momentous strings.
Thankfully songs of that ilk are few and far between on this album and it is not long before the sextet plummet you into the beauty of The Places We Call Home: a beautiful, cacophonous six minutes of swelling emotions that ebb and flow like the tide against the faint fuzz of white noise and crackling percussion. Ships In The Rain and dreamy album opener Lungs Quicken also exist in an earnest, electronically flirtatious and sensual moment as wispy vocals, deliberately coy in their delivery, twist around the hushed, restrained and bruised melody.
Gracious Tide, Take Me Home is a frequently stunning and achingly earnest debut effort whose sugary gossamer moments find themselves perfectly underlined with a bitterly sad aesthetic, but it would definitely benefit from the rougher edges that the band bring to their live show.