During one particularly peaceful summer night this past July, I spent a few hours sitting in my overgrown backyard with nothing but a drink, my bluetooth speaker and my own thoughts. This is one of my favorite hobbies, as well as one of my least productive. Sometimes, you just have to drift through time, carried by music. That evening, two bands carried me through my existential journey, both of which were new to me, and both became obsessions for me: Lord Huron and Grizzly Bear. This week, I’d like to share my thoughts on Lord Huron.
My discovery of Lord Huron felt like a spiritual experience. I honestly can’t think of a more accurate way to describe it. The first song I heard, “The Night We Met,” a waltz-ballad about regret, faded love and the 20/20 quality of hindsight, is enchanting and nostalgic. There was something about the song that felt familiar, like I had heard it before.
Also on that night’s fated playlist were “Meet Me in the Woods,” “The Ghost on the Shore” and “La Belle Fleur Sauvage.” I was drawn in and sunken by the band’s distinct indie-folk-rock sound. In the following days, I felt an unignorable itch to hear as many of the band’s songs as I possibly could, and a quick Google search revealed Lord Huron’s most recent album, “Vide Noir,” released in 2018, which I ravaged like an animal. It did not disappoint.
For a bit of background on the album, “Vide Noir” is French for “Black Void.” The band’s front man, Ben Schneider, claimed to draw inspiration from his nighttime drives around Los Angeles, imagining the album as an odyssey through the cosmos and “a journey along the spectrum of human experience. A search for meaning amidst the cold indifference of The Universe.” No wonder the music provokes such a spiritual feeling.
The album is certainly a journey. My personal favorite stops on that journey are “Back from the Edge,” “Secret Life,” the title track “Vide Noir,” “When the Night is Over” and the two-part “Ancient Names,” which is eight minutes in total and waxes and wanes as an eight minute song should. “Ancient Names” is an exciting, faster-paced song about a man visiting a fortune teller rumored to be named “Lady Moonbeam.” One can only assume, based on the lyrics, that what she has to say to him is less than optimistic.
Another stop on the journey of “Vide Noir” is “Wait by the River,” a beautifully bittersweet song about waiting for a lost love. The speaker’s hope of reaching his love is met with resignation that, if he can’t reach her, he’d rather melt into the universe than live without her. “If I can’t touch your body,” he asks, “can I touch the sky?”
This is but one example of the ethereal lyrics performed by Lord Huron. If you find yourself in the mood to separate your mind from your body, just a bit, I suggest plugging this music into your ears for a little while, especially on a peaceful summer night.