The Lighthouse and the Whaler will quickly rise to the top of your current favorite bands. Destined for heavy streaming (damn you Spotify!), the four guys that make the Cleveland group have created some serious buzz around their exceptional LP Mont Royal, which dropped in August and was produced with Arcade Fire and Local Natives protégé Marcus Paquin. Named for the city they recorded in, Montreal, the band were inspired and pushed to new musical spaces. The result is a mature, creative, fun, and catchy set of songs. Always leaning toward the folk catchall genre, the new album blurs classifications and has the band zoning in on their sweet spot.
Their sound is everything great about modern music. Urgent but never rushed, they sound familiar but refreshingly unique. Album opener “In Motion” has the energy of a Kopecky tune with the earnestness of Lord Huron. From the beginning, the band breaks away from the folk title towards a more rock sound. This is a very good thing. “I Want to Feel Alive” is definitely the most pronounced cut of the album. Starting off with a smooth almost island sound, the song steadily picks up with a pursuit of a life truly lived amidst doubt and uncertainty. It might just be the soundtrack for the millennial generation. The strings and vocal echoes make it particularly haunting and introspective.
The middle core of the album has the band raising the stake on their confidence while exploring their musical boundaries. These tunes show hints of bands like Mutemath and Run River North without ever sounding inauthentic. The Lighthouse and the Whaler are extremely gifted in making epic and sweeping songs that pull you into their wall of sound. Each song is a sort of musical experiment, yet they work together and are never fragmented. From the heartbreaking but life giving “Glory” to the synth driven declaration “never let go of your senses” in the pop gem “Senses”, the band remains creative and extremely catchy. Songs like “We Aren’t Who We Thought We Were” float on almost endlessly with a driven intention of an existential crisis. It works and pairs well with “Closer”. The more upbeat jam starts to dig the listener out of the philosophical funk the previous songs may have created. While not a rare event during listening to Mont Royal, “Closer” will have you clapping and playing air bass.
The Cleveland act recently wrapped up their tour in conjunction with Mont Royal and will head out in November in support of Surfer Blood.