IT’S maybe a strange admission from a music reviewer, but I knew nothing of Lord Huron or their musical before slipping Strange Trails into my CD player.
Another confession is that if you’d told me beforehand that they’re ouerve was widely described as indie folk, I’d have been cautious at best, wary at worst.
So it’s great to report that Strange Trails — the LA four-piece’s second album — is a wonderful mix of of atmospheric ballads and rocky folk songs which will have your foot tapping and your head nodding.
Recurring themes include death, ghosts, the unknown and the open sky.
You can envisage the childhood summer holidays on the banks of Lake Huron in America’s Great Lakes region which inspired founding member Ben Schneider to begin writing music and clearly still fuel his creativity now.
Schneider apparently spent many a happy hour singing round the campfire, and his connection with those nights and the nature surrounding him shines through.
Schneider provides the lion’s share of vocals but two of his bandmates chip in to produce a lovely layered sound, while the combination of two guitars, bass and a drum beat which rattles through the speedier tracks proves simple but highly effective.
Strange Trails, much gloomier than the band’s debut, is a concept album based on the experiences of fictional characters inspired by pulp fiction, repeatedly looking at themes of death, the darker side of life and, according to Schneider, the end of the world.
But songs with names like The Yawning Grave, Cursed and The World Ender prove far more enjoyable than you might expect, while Loves Like Ghosts, Fool For Love and the outstanding Meet Me In The Woods all had me hitting the repeat button.
If you’re not normally a folkie, don’t let that tag put you off.
Take a trip along the Strange Trails and embark on an absorbing, intriguing adventure.