Lord Huron‘s fourth studio album is very much a product of its time. During lockdown in 2020, Ben Schneider (who, to all intents and purposes is Lord Huron) announced a series of streaming shows which would feature unreleased songs. Those shows, entitled Alive From Whispering Press, would form the basis for the songs contained on Long Lost.
It’s a strange, otherworldly sort of record – snatches of spoken word mix with some gorgeous, country-tinged anthems, and it ends on a 14 minute slice of ambient noise. It’s a lot more accessible than it sounds though, and when it hits the mark, it can sound almost goosebump-inducing.
As with a lot of bands of Lord Huron’s era, the shadow of Fleet Foxes falls heavily here. Love Me Like You Used To is gloriously warm and anthemic, full of soaring choruses and harmonies that Robin Pecknold would be proud of. The shuffle of Not Dead Yet is another lovely moment, with Schneider perfecting his best Elvis Presley-style “uh-huh-huh”.
Schneider can do downbeat just as well – the lovely Drops In The Lake is brooding and wistful, with strings and a reverb-heavy guitar lick adding to the atmosphere. Meet Me In The City has a similar dreamy feel to it, the sort of song you could imagine soundtracking a latter episode of Twin Peaks – spooky, dramatic and oddly timeless.
That timeless quality crops up time and time again – the title track’s has some sweeping, lush orchestration that sounds like it’s echoing down through the years, while I Lied is a beautiful break-up duet with Allison Ponthier. The latter song is one of the highlights of the album, the vocal interplay between Schneider and Pontheir almost aching with sadness.
Certain tracks do have a slightly unfinished feel to them, admittedly. At Sea is brooding and atmospheric, but at just over 90 seconds it’s almost over before it starts. The various spoken word interludes, voiced by a fictional character named Mr Tubbs Tarbell, may seem a bit pointless, but they frame the record well and add to the whole old-school ‘live’ atmosphere.
Only the closing Time’s Blur seems a bit of an outlier, a 15 minute ambient instrumental in the style of Pink Floyd that will take plenty of patience to listen to all the way through. It may make for decent background music, but after an album’s worth of perfectly constructed folky anthems, it sounds like it belongs on a different album.
That aside, Long Lost is very much business as usual for Lord Huron. While there may not be anything to rival their breakout hit The Night We Met for ubiquity, much of the band’s fourth album sounds like the sort of warm hug that many people are desperately searching out for right now.