Slow, languid beauty in music is often enjoyable, but rarely truly great. It lulls rather than excites, carries rather than grabs. There always seem to be a bunch of bands doing it, if not the same bunch of acts that were doing it a few years ago. There’s a reason shoegaze only lasted for a second in popularity, and then only in the U.K. Yet Newcastle upon Tyne’s Lanterns On the Lake are powerful in Spook the Herd.
With a name like that, one might have expected Spook to be all haunt, no heart, but Lanterns care. Yes, they can do the big, airy piece such as wistful opener “When It All Comes True” and slow closer “A Fitting End”, but also slyer with “Baddies” and even a twang-like intimacy & attitude on “Blue Screen Beams”. The feeling is not one of loss but more of hope, albeit with an acknowledgement of what has been lost.
Spook the Herd’s slow beauty isn’t going to bowl anyone over, and after listening you might want to take a nap. But it will be a beautiful sleep.