Lanterns on the Lake - Starlight EP, The

Matt Harrold 03/01/2009

Rating: 5/5

Ever so occasionally, digging through the reviews at GIITTV we come across something just a little bit special. We're not talking about mainstream special. No, that crown was nicked by those cheeky tykes the Arctic Monkeys. We're talking about the kind of special that you want to keep to yourself, because you have this paranoid fear that what makes such an act special will be ripped out in the name of commercialism.

So what's considered this kind of special? Enter Lanterns on the Lake with their new Ep Starlight. Six multi-instrumentalists heralding from Newcastle Upon Tyne, and quite possibly the only people with the ability to steal cynicism away and replace it with wide eyed wonder. See it all starts with the opening track...

My Shield has an air of Sigur Rós in its ability to create a new world all of LOTL's own making. The piano's gentle cascade underpinning strings playfully dancing in and out, warming even the warmest of hearts with their summer breeze. If I Be Unkind is pure Mazzy Star with its gothic folk underbelly, whilst In The Starlight shows a softer side to the post-rock scene. In part becoming the antithesis of God Speed You Black Emperor's epic, intense walls of soud, though still remembering the all-important lessons of texture, and timbre. Which leaves the touchingly titled I Love You, Sleepyhead to bring up the rear. Breathlessly Hazel Wilde sings over the organ synths "There's a spark in our eyes/But I'm letting you down tonight" as she lets down an unnamed suitor.

Indeed part of the joy with Lanterns By the Lake is the vocals. It may be the fragile melodies that draw you in, but Hazel Wilde's ethereal vocals bring such delicate beauty to the songs, that you almost end up frightened to blink, afraid that if you stop paying attention, for even a second, the illusion will be shattered. Complimenting Wilde's talent is Adam Sykes' own singing; bruised, raw and on the perpetual verge of sounding like it will collapse and never be heard again.

Rarely has a band's name contained such a poetic image as Lanterns on the Lake, nor such a description been apt for the sound scape provided. So close your eyes, and imagine the flicker of the lights reflected in the gentle lapping of the waters. A body of work as gorgeous as this deserves no less.