Lord Huron "Strange Trails"

Atmospheric melodies and production, paired with detailed storytelling make for a pulp-fiction inspired album.

Lonesome Dreams, the debut album from Lord Huron, introduced a moody, atmospheric sound that featured detailed character studies that floated on intricate rhythms created by layered instrumentation. Strange Trails, the band’s sophomore release, continues the journey through haunted landscapes, populated by a collection of lost souls. The album plays like a pulp fiction novel about an apocalyptic world. Dead men are resurrected to lead gangs of drifters, children are left to search for a future, a disheartened woman is left to ponder what is left of her life. These people and this world comes to life via a varied of tempos and genres ranging from country western twang, to Bo Diddley rhythms, to haunted folk balladry.

The nucleus of Lord Huron is Ben Schneider, songwriter, singer, guitarist, and visual artist. Other band members were pulled, piecemeal, into his gravitational pull, a process that occurred as Schneider defined his style. His visual artist background plays out in the album’s artwork, presenting a moss covered, untamed landscape. His songs sound like chapters torn from a novel, each presenting the perspective of a new character with Schneider taking on their personas. These roles are intricately laid out with names and backgrounds. The first, presented on the mournful opener “Love Like Ghosts,” is a world-weary lounge singer who has seen her share of lost love. “Fool For Love” presents a washed up rock-a-billy singer named Buck Vernon who suffers hallucinations. “Frozen Pines” captures the yearnings of a child named Danielle. “Until the Night Turns” is a young gang member’s rebellious dedication to partying before the end times.

If you’re looking for some summertime escapism Strange Trails is your album. It’s akin to plunging into the hammock with a dime-store novel – albeit one that captures the very best of the genre.

Rosemary Welsch (Afternoon Mix)