Lanterns on the Lake: Spook the Herd (Bella Union) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Monday, April 15th, 2024  

Spook the Herd

Bella Union

Apr 10, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Newcastle, England’s Lanterns on the Lake are known for melding folk rock influences and post-rock instrumentals with the stylized vocals of Hazel Wilde creating their own brand of brooding folktronica. Spook the Herd is their fourth album, third for Bella Union.

The slow, sometimes bittersweet songs—whose reserved tones sound more like enigmatic lullabies than any type of dream rock—come to life as seductive and slow pop songs when Wilde adds a little fire to her usual feathery sweet warble; sounding like what could be a wiser and more plaintive older sister to a younger, wilder, and more energetic Florence Welch. In fact the album as a whole has a vibe that could be likened to Florence + the Machine if they drank a bottle of codeine-laced cough syrup before entering the recording studio.

The addition of cascading, reverb-drenched guitar stylings and airy electronics give the songs multi-layered and textural edges that feature atmospheric and lush vocals. It’s tastefully done and works well on opener “When It All Comes True” and the more upbeat tracks “Every Atom” and “Blue Screen Beams.”

But these vibrant tunes are few and far between. Too often the pleasant musical tapestries drop too far into the background with slower tempos and sparse arrangements and tend to fade away and lose their appeal. Only to rise again on the exceptional “Swimming Lessons,” which is a much more expansive and dreamy affair and shows off the band’s ability to create lush and emotional dream rock.

Yet overall there is some intangible ingredient missing here and while the tracks can be enjoyable and soothing while playing there’s not quite enough bite to make them memorable. (

Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 5/10


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