While some bands struggle to beat the charm of their debut album on their second long player, Lanterns On The Lake seem to have consolidated and become stronger. Until The Colours Run offers a more satisfying listen than their first.

The grandiose ‘Elodie’ opens the album with urgent shoegaze before softening to allow Hazel Wilde’s fragile but powerful vocals to dominate. Wilde no longer shares vocal duties with Paul Gregory and she shines, at times sounding a lot like Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval.

 

On this album Gregory has concentrated on producing symphonic, post-rock arrangements that intimidate by the sheer epic scale on which they are constructed. Yet unlike a lot of post-rock outfits, Lanterns On The Lake never sound forbidding; rather, there is a cool serene beauty about their music which strikes strong emotional chords with listeners.

 

Reflective of the band’s recent travails, there is a bleak and unforgiving attitude to much of this album, which aches with discontent and weariness as it subtly spells out its personal political agenda. The second half of this album slinks into dreamy chamber pop as they gather around the piano for ‘Green And Gold’ or slip into nasty bittersweet nothings on ‘Another Tale From Another English Town’.

 

A magnificent but ultimately heartbreaking album.

 

4/5 stars

 

BY THE SIDEMAN

 

Until The Colours Run is out now through Bella Union/[PIAS].

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