Review Summary: Life is short – love what you love.
I'm a terrible music critic. Sure, I can write fervently and convincingly about anything that deeply moves me, but I've never been great at tempering that enthusiasm to account for all the things that naturally diminish an album's impact over time. To me, music has always been tied to the moment: an album's worth isn't in its instrumental prowess, but in the emotional investment that it incurs. When I look back at my favorite albums, they're a product of both heartbreaking and joyous memories that I'll take to my deathbed. It doesn't matter whether it's intricate/progressive metal, or merely catchy pop-punk – if I can tag a core memory to it that no other piece of music can stake claim to, then it has carved out a permanent room in my heart. As I look back and add these experiences up, they're plentiful: proof of a life with numerous ups and downs that I can page through like a photo album simply by clicking "play."
is the latest photo in that album, a slightly sun-faded image of me holding my two year old son while my wife cooks in the kitchen, singing along to the new Ruston Kelly album which spins on the record player pretty much constantly on weekends. When I was younger, I used to define life by its biggest moments; now I find comfort in the everyday. In that vein, Long Lost
is going to be another album we wear out on weekends...I just know it
. It's in part because my wife and I share an affinity for sweeping melodic folk, and also because the new Iosonouncane isn't exactly conducive to placid Saturdays in suburbia (also, I don't picture us singing along to it as a family any time soon). Music has become bigger than just me these days, and the more I can share an album with those around me, the more likely I am to look back at it fondly. After all, there are only so many memories that can be formed alone in my car, or confined to the PC in my basement jamming something dark/dissonant/profanity-laced while life goes on without me from above.
Lord Huron's latest is the opposite of that. It's not only their best (yes, even better than Lonesome Dreams
), but also their lushest and most emotionally absorbing. Acoustic guitars shimmer like diamonds on the surface of a still lake, while Ben Schneider's melodic verses echo a magical blend of nostalgia and romance. Amid all of that beauty, passionate strings intertwine with each note like a gentle breeze which takes hold of his words and carries them aloft. Long Lost
possesses the Earthly beauty of Fleet Foxes' Helplessness Blues
, only it's even more serene – the open countryside to Pecknold's patented forests. Within these plains, Schneider alternates between contemplating every blade of grass and dropping his head back, letting go of everything, and just relinquishing his soul to the surrounding dome of blue above him. Atmospherically, Long Lost
espouses the sort of breathtakingly effortless beauty that we tend to perceive as common (thanks in part to the genre pioneers who decades ago established the sound in the mainstream); yet, I can count on one hand the number of contemporary artists who write folk as aesthetically gorgeous and simultaneously memorable as Lord Huron does. I'm completely taken by this album already, and it's made an immediate imprint in my mind as I type this surrounded by loving family on the warmest day of the year; sun beams fading to-and-fro through the blinds as if to stir me from this beautiful dream that is Long Lost
Back to my kitchen: I began playing Long Lost
for my wife at the inception of this review, and we're on 'Drops in the Lake.' She has predictably loved every moment of it so far. My toddler danced in hilariously unsynchronized fashion to 'Mine Forever'. My wife just felt the new baby kick for the first time. Everything right now just feels awash in this surreal haze. It’s all glowing in the morning sunlight, and my mind is buzzing. 'Where Did The Time Go' echoes my own thoughts right now: "It's been delightful / May you laugh and sing your life full / May you learn the reasons why / May you live until you die." The moment is so perfect I almost feel like I could cry.
Maybe music shouldn't be this important. But to me, it just is. There's no writing about music without getting close and personal, and life is devoid of color without music to fill it in. I think that's why Long Lost
has inspired me so; it's such a stunning
album in every way that my mind can't help but drift to all the things that matter most to me. There was a time not so long ago when music was a lifeboat to deliver me from loneliness and depression; now it's a representation of everything in its right place – proof that things get better, proof that life does
work out, and proof that I'm the luckiest person to stumble out of his own crippling introversion and accidentally find happiness. The penultimate 'What Do It Mean' is serenading me in the background, and these words just floated across the room: "All of the joy I've known / The ways I've grown / The loves I’ve shown my heart to / I'm going to get it together and live forevеr." Long Lost
spoke to me in an almost intangible way from the moment I first laid ears upon it...now, the more I pick up on the lyrics and themes of the album, the more I realize that it was written for me – right now, in this precise blissful moment that I'll surely never forget – even as it comes from the mundanity of my living room. The fourteen minutes of beautiful ambience that is 'Time's Blur' just started, and the only thing I can think of saying right now is this: life is short – love what you love
. For me, Long Lost
will serve as a constant reminder to do exactly that.