Lord Huron/Long Lost/Whispering Pines Studios Inc./Republic Records
Four stars out of five
When a band opts to call itself Lord Huron, then it’s only natural that the music they make will take on has a regal posture. Happily then, Lord Huron take that obligation seriously. Long Lost may not be the archival effort its title implies, at least not in the strictest sense, but it does bring to mind some long-forgotten cinematic excursion, thanks in large part to its celestial suggestion, the elaborate, ethereal arrangements and a rich, sweeping circumstance.
Spun from a series of streaming events that featured unreleased songs, the new album finds Lord Huron’s imaginative instincts at full flourish. It’s odd at times, thanks to songs interpreted with off-kilter introductions and disembodied spoken word segments that give the feel of a faraway broadcast. Yet the songs themselves are fully-realized, enriched with elaborate arrangements and melodies that are both elusive and assured at the same time. It’s a cryptic concept, one that has the band encouraging its listeners to take it all in without interruption. Indeed, early on, “Mine Forever” sets up a surge that encourages continued commitment.
“Time washes away what man creates, but ‘Long Lost’ might convince you that a note can live on,” the band opine in the liner notes, and while it’s clear there’s some grand concept involved, it’s still possible to delve into the individual songs and reap maximum appreciation. That’s always evident, whether gleaned from the plodding pace of “Meet Me in the City,” the steady and assertive sound of “Not Dead Yet,” the down home designs of “Love Me Like You Used To” and “Twenty Long Years” or the elaborate orchestration that accompanies the lush title track.
While some might see Long Lost as an example of overly considered posturing or pretense, it’s really about the intrigue and imagination that springs from such richly revealing musical tapestries. Granted, the band has attempted to carve out a spectacle of sorts, one that suggests grand ambition at work and the undiminished desire to see it through to fruition. The fact that it culminates in the aptly titled concluding track “Time’s Blur,” a dreamy, Pink Floyd-like fourteen minute-plus psychedelic soiree of sorts, effectively proves that point.
Ultimately, Long Lost could be considered an opus of sorts, a fully realized work that’s epic, intriguing, expansive, and yet introspective. It’s an emotional encounter that delivers on all it promises far more often than not.
Photo by Anthony Wilson