Lanterns on the Lake - Misfortunes and Minor Victories

Matt Harrold 15/07/2009

Rating: 4.5/5

Oh Lanterns on the Lake, what took you so long? It's been a good while since we've had a fresh dose of low key pop perfection, and like a good friend it's hard not to throw your arms around their new EP 'Misfortunes and Minor Victories' and usher it in with a hearty smile. Doubly so upon finding out the reason that it took them so long to come up with the new material - drummer Ol Ketteringham was busy recovering after managing to break his back.

Damned good excuses aside (and many well wishes), was the wait worth it? Ah resounding yes would be the answer to that. Opening track 'A Kingdom' is far more upbeat then any of their previous material, it's neon tinged guitar brings to mind late night drives whilst street lights play their shadows over the dash board. This new, more confident bleeds into 'Giants' with it's background of hand claps and shimmering synths, as once again Hazel Wilde's ethereal vocals are used as to provide a foil to Adam Sykes more broken, fragile voice.

Recorded over last years winter there's a definite air of fireside intimacy in many of the tracks, brought beautifully to the fore on the gentle guitar ballad of 'There's a Light on in Your Home' as Hazel Wilde gently croons "Shelter from the Cold, there's a light on in your heart”, infusing the track with the delicate warmth that the current crop of Indie songstresses would tear their left arm of for. It's all well and good being able to sing like you have the lungs of a blue whale, but how is that going to help to connect to a listener?

Which brings us to the country tinge of 'You Need Better' which straddles the divide between Bright Eyes style Americana with the more gentle British folk, complete with banjo and Sarah Kemp's swooning violin. It's a touching ode to following your heart above the opinions of your peers, gently bleeds out into a velvet carpet of rich harmonies.

We need better? Not with likes of Lanterns on the Lake around to titillate our ears.