Headphones: Lord Huron Relaxes On First Album In Three Years

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The Michigan based Indie folk and rock group, Lord Huron, has emerged with its first studio album since 2015. Vide Noir, or “Black Void”, offers a collection showing off the multiple strengths of the group. Composed of members Ben Schneider, Mark Barry, Miguel Briseño, and Tom Renaud Lord Huron finds a unique blend of rock, funk, and folk music on their third studio album.

Beginning with the album’s opening track, “Lost in Time and Space”, the group shows that they have progressed to create a new sound surrounding new concepts since their last album Strange Trails. The song is made entirely with the tunes of acoustic guitar and tambourine, featuring very subtle percussion sounds. The track plays with the concepts of time, space, and death as Schneider displays his unique faded vocals very similar to lead-vocalist of The Killers, Brandon Flowers. The track gives off an extremely tranquil vibe as the group moves on in the album to many different sounds.

Leading right from the end of the opening track into “Never Ever”, Lord Huron flips directly into a new sound. As the first song shows off a relaxing indie folk vibe, “Never Ever” gives us a glimpse of the rock background of the group. Utilizing more of Mark Barry’s talents on the drum, the track combines acoustic guitar and melodic drums to give a new vibe to the album.

With “Ancient Names”, featuring two separate tracks under the title of “part I” and “part II”, Lord Huron loops tunes of an electric guitar and keyboard to combine the group’s folk and rock sounds. Once again focusing on the rock aspects of the group, the two-part track shows off Schneider’s gentle vocals despite a fast-paced tempo.

While many of the early tracks of the album demonstrate Lord Huron’s talent in creating rock tracks, as the album moves on the group begins to focus more on their indie folk roots. “The Balancer’s Eye” is a gentle masterpiece in which Schneider’s vocals are suited best. The track uses a variety of different sounds surrounding a simple guitar riff. Introducing much more fluid sounds compared to their rock tracks, “The Balancer’s Eye” along with several other songs tease with the concept of space and the exploration of the undiscovered. With the track's outro utilizing the sounds of a harp, the group indulges in the trippy and heavenly vibe of the album.

“When the Night is Over” continues to group’s quest for cosmic tranquility in the form a slow and rhythmic folk track. The relaxing song brings together the talents of Schneider and Barry, with a simple high-hat drum line laid over an electric guitar riff. The track shows off the reflective thoughts of the group with lyrics like, “Now how the trail has gone cold/I don’t know where else to go/And my time, I fear, is nearly over/When the ocean drinks the sky”. The poetic lyrics produced through Schneider’s mild tone creates another relaxing track on the album.

The album’s title track is where the group switches direction from the traditional folk and rock songs that make up a majority of the project. The track combines a funky sound filled with lyrics that dive deeper into the concepts of the album’s title. “Tears of sorrow or tears of joy/Drops in my cup as my mind is destroyed/Staring into a pure, black void” are just some of the heavy lyrics Schneider sings against the upbeat rhythm. As one might expect from such an ominous and dismal album title, Lord Huron explores astronomical and inner-perspective questions on their recent album. The title track, “Vide Noir”, is a perfect representation of the type of thoughts and questions the group looks to highlight. Opposing these dreary lyrics with such an optimistic beat is what makes the album’s title track such a beautifully poetic label for the entire album.

The relaxing tune of the album’s tracks is consistent in a majority of Lord Huron’s music, despite the times they focus on the rock aspects of their musical abilities. “Wait by the River” follows this same course with another groovy bass line laid over a simple drum beat. Once again Schneider’s vocals shine on the track, giving a traditional sound to the song. The video for the song follows this old-school vibe, showing the group in classic 60s and 70s looks with Schneider at the front. The video is filled with shots of the album’s cover art, adding a cosmic and trippy feel to an otherwise classic video.

Part of what makes Lord Huron so unique is their classic sounds fitting perfectly in the indie label. This sound is made possible mostly through the group’s lead vocalist, Ben Schneider. Schneider, a founder of the indie group, uses his unique voice to give his group that old-school sound. Schneider, who wrote all the tracks for Vide Noir, is a rare talent in today’s music scene and his voice along with the musical abilities of his fellow band members have combined to make Lord Huron one of the top groups in the indie folk and rock scenes.

Lord Huron’s rise to the top has been rather unorthodox as they have only released three albums since 2012. Vide Noir, the group’s first album released by a major record label (Republic Records), has revived the group’s talents and returned them to the top of album charts. Two weeks after the album’s release, it has already cracked the top 10 of the Billboard 200 and looks to keep climbing. As Lord Huron has given fans the same sounds of their earlier albums, they have found new concepts to sing about giving a whole new level to the depth of the group’s lyrics and overall sound.