Lord Huron

Vide Noir

Whispering Pines/Republic

Apr 16, 2018 Issue #63 - Courtney Barnett Bookmark and Share


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Dave Fridmann's presence was detectable early on. When Lord Huron decided to release the one-two simultaneous punch known as "Ancient Names"Parts I and IIas singles leading up to the release of their new album, Vide Noir, the sonic differences were striking.

At the core, each of Vide Noir's songs hold the same grounded grooves fans and critics have come to appreciate from their first two albums, Lonesome Dreams (2012) and Strange Trails (2015). But layered atop and around Ben Schneider's rooted compositions are psychedelic frills, fuzzed out guitars, and foreign instrumentation. And the space. Oh, there's so much space.

It's in the amped up second half of "Ancient Names," an almost comical take upon first listen because of its jarring nature. It's an overly efficient Lord Huron hurrying through their set and yet it shows another side of a simply great songa bit of sonic stretching. There's plenty more where that came from.

"Lost in Time and Space" opens Vide Noir with few minutes of celestial meandering. Schneider, the band's frontman, eventually comes around with his lyrical thesis"I don't know who I am/I don't know where I am"but he's clearly not unmoored by the realization. He's simply floating by, musically weightless even as he's lyrically weighed down.

Vide Noir is easily the band's most musically striking release to date. How much of that is on Fridmann (who mixed the album) is hard to tell, but he's clearly an influence. The vocal treatment on "Never Ever," the funky canvas of "When the Night is Over," the haunting, almost Wild West feel of "Back From the Edge"they're appreciated flourishes on the band's ever-propulsive tracks. (www.lordhuron.com) 

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10



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