Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
I DOUBT you’ll hear too many better albums this year than Lord Huron’s debut full length LP Lonesome Dreams.
Ben Schneider has created something that is utterly mesmerising by embracing many of the classic values of Americana and infusing it with his own distinct style. There’s a beauty here that’s both enchanting and beguiling depending on Schneider’s mood, and one that’s capable of appealing to listeners of all ages, whether you grew up with Simon & Garfunkel or enjoy Mumford & Sons.
What’s more, he doesn’t put a foot wrong throughout. Lonesome Dreams is an album so jam-packed with great songs that you really don’t want it to end.
We first became acquainted with Lord Huron when he released the Time To Run EP last year and swiftly made it an EP of the week. Two of those songs still rate among the highlights here.
Time To Run gets you from the very first hook – its upbeat vibe, lively guitars, echoed chorus and feel-good vibe becoming utterly invigorating. It demands repeat listening.
But just as good is the breezy The Man Who Lives Forever, which is rich in similarly toe-tapping melody and some great hooks. It’s clap happy and deliriously feel-good with a sense of the cinematic too.
That’s just two songs of 10 brilliant offerings, beginning with album opener Ends of The Earth, a slow-builder par excellence that really does underline Schneider’s ability to combine Appalachian percussion, calypso guitars and infectious Western melodies. Vocally, it’s dusky and utterly reassuring, while the chorus is brilliant in its quiet euphoria (“to the ends of the Earth, would you follow me”) and the intricate guitar arrangements breathtaking.
Title track Lonesome Dreams is a heart-melting moment, too, complete with glockenspiel inflicted chimes and a really keen sense of melody. It’s mix of folk, rock and Americana is utterly intoxicating; it’s imagery as beautiful as the melodies that accompany it. Again, the guitars make a fantastic impression.
But Schneider’s ability to impress is maintained whether he keeps things low-key and intimate or raises the tempo and injects songs with shimmering melodicism.
The Ghost From The Shore is a brilliant ballad, complete with subtle violin arrangements, that beguiles, while She Lit A Fire follows in similar fashion, upping the tempo slightly with a warm mix of acoustic guitars and echoed vocal harmonies.
I Will Be Back One Day is just achingly good and another seamless blend of melody and warm lyrics (albeit tinged with regret at having to leave in the first place), while Lullaby is as sweet as the name suggests it ought to be.
If there’s one minor criticism, that could have been the track to end the album and is misplaced chronologically. But that’s being churlish.
And it’s a good thing that there’s more too. For Brother (Last Ride) is a nice way to pick up the tempo once again and is lovely, while In The Wind rounds things off in style in suitably mid-tempo fashion (the layering of the instrumental elements particularly impressive).
It’s too early to say that you’ve found your album of the year in January but this has such a timeless quality about it that I can honestly predict it won’t be far from the top come the end of the year. It’s a masterpiece.
Download picks: Ends of The Earth, Time To Run, Lonesome Dreams, The Man Who Lives Forever, I Will Be Back One Day, In The Wind