If Helplessness Blues was your favorite album last year and you’re heartbroken thinking that Fleet Foxes may not exist anymore, I have some good news. I have found a worthy successor. Lord Huron, and their debut album Lonesome Dreams, has that orchestral sound, using dozens of instruments mixed exactly right and perfected like Fleet Foxes. This 5 piece band of Michiganders has created what may be the best album of the year and one that will surely be on repeat years from now.
“Oh, there’s a river that winds on forever,/ I’m gonna see where it leads” is the beginning line in the album, one that sets the tone for an album borne out of wonder and experimentation. This album is full of incredible folk songs, complimented by complex arrangements of every percussion instrument available and great harmonies. Complex lyrics and engaging stories are told through songs that flow from one into the next and there are a few songs that many end up on our best of list in a few weeks.
The first standout track is “Time to Run”, the first single on the album. It’s a song that refers to something potentially dangerous done for a woman, “It’s time to run, they’ll string me up for what I’ve done”. What makes it so great is the catchy, toe tapping rhythm and the chorus, which repeats, “I wanted everybody else in the world to know, I wanted everyone to know that you’re the girl for me.” It also has the album’s best line: “I’ve no regrets, I will not ask for your forgiveness./ Lower your defense, run away with me and it’ll all make sense.” Maybe the best part of the song is it’s awesome flow into the next track, “Lonesome Dreams”. The title track begins with an awesome xylophone(?) and some more great musical work. It’s an appropriately lonely song in lyrics, if not in music. “I’ve been dreaming again of that lonesome road, where I’m lost and I’ve got no friends.”
“She Lit a Fire” is not unlike “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers, a super catchy, super simple song that it’s hard to not simply listen to on repeat. While it’s sort of creepy (in an “Every Breath You Take” way), it’s charming and it certainly helps to add to the western feel of the song. It does a great job of explaining what I imagine it must have been like to search for love in the old west.
One of the most interesting and most universal songs is “The Man Who Lives Forever”, a song that talks about man’s desire for immortality and the limits of a mortal life. It’s an incredible song about love and the power of love, the desire to keep that love forever, and the sad realization that everything comes to an end. “I said life without end wouldn’t have any meaning./ The journey to death is the point of our being./ Well, the point of my life is to be with you babe,/ But there ain’t enough time in the life that they gave me.”
The album ends with 3 great songs, “Lullaby”, a great mellow song, “Brother”, an incredible song about friendship, and “Into the Wind”, a timeless sort of love song. With all these songs, Lord Huron has created what may be the best complete album of the year. From top to bottom, the album drips with incredible lyrics (“What good is living the life you’ve been given if all you do is standing in place?”), orchestral arrangements, and enough folk sounds to make you forget about Fleet Foxes for a while.