Lanterns on the Lake: Versions of Us (Bella Union) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Lanterns on the Lake

Versions of Us

Bella Union

Jun 22, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Lanterns on the Lake’s latest album, Versions of Us, almost didn’t see the light of day. The immensely talented Tyneside collective faced numerous challenges, from mental health struggles and personal upheavals to parenthood and an existential crisis that made them question their future in music. At one point, drummer Ol Ketteringham even left the band, and they had to scrap almost a year’s worth of work, feeling that something essential was missing at the album’s core. However, when Radiohead’s drummer, Philip Selway, joined to help rework the songs, the band discovered a new dynamic and regained their belief in the project. The chaos they experienced has ultimately resulted in their strongest album to date, filled with raw emotion and resilience, imbued with a newfound sense of purpose. It seems that Lanterns on the Lake thrive in the face of adversity.

Versions of Us possesses depth and beauty, exploring hopes, fears, and relationships while confronting and overcoming inner demons. The album opens with “The Likes of Us,” where singer Hazel Wilde repeats the mantra, “I won’t let this spark die in me,” a message that resonates throughout the entire album like a raised fist.

Wilde, alongside Paul Gregory, Bob Allan, and Angela Chan, strike a delicate balance between intimate moments and huge cinematic sonic landscapes. For example, in “Real Life,” the stadium-sized shoegaze sound merges with Wilde’s remarkable vocals, infusing the track with a majestic, bruised sense of nobility.

One of the album’s standout tracks is the stunning “String Theory,” apparently inspired by a TV show that explores the multiverse theory. Wilde describes the song as an exploration of the idea that “somewhere out there, vibrating on their own frequency, exists another fully realized version of yourself where your story turned out differently.” It is a profound, moving, and incredibly uplifting piece of music and up there with their very best work.

“Locust” is another slow-building epic, where guitars ignite to glorious effect, adding an extra layer of explosive energy to the hypnotic melodies. In “Rich Girls,” Wilde reflects on the contrast between the lives we live and the lives we present to the world, singing, “I wish I could fake it like those rich girls do.” The album’s closing track, “Last Transmission,” offers a poignant reflection on finding meaning in the often chaotic world we inhabit. It serves as a beautiful final flourish and ends on a hopeful note, with Wilde contemplating, “In the last gasp of this old world, I think I found the beauty and the good.”

Versions of Us represents a powerful journey of resilience and self-discovery. It engages, uplifts, and leaves a lasting impact, proving that even in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, if you keep that “spark” alive within you, you can find the strength to prevail. (

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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