Though they’ve remained relatively under the radar, indie folk band Lord Huron has gained a wide following from music lovers who religiously follow the underground music world.
Front man Ben Schneider began Lord Huron as a solo project in 2010, releasing three EPs, which landed him with his current label, Iamsound. Strange Trails marks the band’s sophomore album release, and makes the group well worth paying attention to.
Heralded by the release of the single “The Night We Met,” Lord Huron’s Strange Trails begins with their noted style of a narrative arc of themes, allowing each song to serve as their own story in the music’s journey.
“Love Like Ghosts” opens the album and tells the story of a man who has lost his love, and is haunted by her memory. The next song, “Until the Night Turns,” follows a man who dreams that the world ended, and follows his reconciliation with that idea. Next, “Dead Man’s Hand” relays the tale of a cowboy riding out west who comes along the corpse of a young man; when he goes to bury the body, the corpse refuses to be buried in the lonely wilderness, then rides off into desert looking for the afterlife.
The narrative arc continues through songs about love (“Hurricane”, “Meet Me in the Woods”), death (“Frozen Pines”, “Fool For Love”), the afterlife (“Way out There”, “The World Ender”), and the end of the world. While each story is isolated in order to stand as a single, the easy transfer from one tale into the next could be considered a musical translation of a short story anthology. Lord Huron pulls this off flawlessly; their trademark uniqueness of sound instrument usage gives every story a different flavor.
At 14 tracks total, the band introduces a fascinating sound composition. Tracks 1 (“Love Like Ghosts”), 8 (“Meet Me in the Woods”), and 14 (“The Night We Met”) all have the same melody, but different lyrics, tempo, and mood. This beginning-middle-end style of album narrative is rare among artists. Something this complex only serves to prove how very proficient Lord Huron is at being one of the best at producing literature-like storytelling via music.