Lord Huron recently announced the release of his new album Vide Noir in January. To increase anticipation, the band came out with three new singles to hint at the forthcoming changes in sound. They include “Ancient Names (Part I),” “Ancient Names (Part II)” and “Wait by the River.”
Despite the name, Lord Huron is a multi-member band founded by singer/songwriter and guitarist Ben Schneider. Originally from Michigan, the name was inspired by Lake Huron where Ben spent summers during his childhood. Lord Huron released its first album, Lonesome Dreams, in 2012. The album peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard charts and was complemented by an artistic series of Western inspired music videos to accompany the album. The next album, Strange Trails, was released in 2015, also topping the Billboard charts. These first two albums were released through IAMSOUND while Vide Noir will be released through Whispering Pines (Lord Huron’s recording studio) and Republic Records. Vide Noir was mixed by David Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, MGMT) and engineered by Sonny DiPerri (Portugal. The Man).
While a cornerstone example of indie folk, Lord Huron’s recent singles has shown a distinct change in sound. “Wait by the River” is reminiscent of the classic Lord Huron sound. Its melodic and smooth with intricate string sounds characteristic of folk and emotionally-charged lyrics that pine after love lost.
In contrast, both “Ancient Names (Part I)” and “Ancient Names (Part II)” prove that Vide Noir may deviate from what is now expected after Lonesome Dreams and Strange Trails. These previous albums reflect a long journey through the wilderness with a distinct ethereal sound and declarations of undying love. Schneider found inspiration for Vide Noir through his nighttime driving in LA, stating that he started “imagining Vide Noir as an epic odyssey through the city, across dimensions, and out into the cosmos.” He describes the album further as, “A journey along the spectrum of human experience. A search for meaning amidst the cold indifference of the universe.”
Strange Trails explored mystic, ominous themes on tracks such as, “The Night We Met” and “Cursed,” but Vide Noir plans to take these journeys a step further. The singles are dissonant and reminiscent of more alt-rock with a garage band sound. Instead of the soft, melodic sound that is to be expected, these singles are heavier and darker lyrics such as from Part II: “Gone are the days of laughter and love…Take it down to the ground and sink me below.” Imagery for the album has already been shared the album teaser featuring mysterious, otherworldly elements and a phone number to call (1-800-VIDE NOIR).
While change can be a good thing, a transition of sound can always be difficult to navigate for a band, especially for one with a “classic sound.” Even so, the singles are striking and unique, showing that maybe Lord Huron needed to experiment a long time ago. These singles hopefully will reflect Vide Noir in full: a balance of Lord Huron’s distinct folk sound combined with a journey down the band’s path less traveled.