After more than a decade of releasing memorable music that captured the human spirit and the environment in which it is allowed to flourish, Lanterns on the Lake finally received their long-awaited and much-deserved acclaim and recognition. Their fourth studio album, Spook the Herd, was a critical darling. Through the meticulous orchestration, the Newcastle quintet told tales of humanity’s self-destruction.  The record was beautiful and powerful and an achievement very few collectives could create let alone imagine. The panel in charge of the prestigious Mercury Prize recognized their work, nominating Lanterns on the Lake as a finalist. While the collective did not win (Michael Kiwanuka’s soul-searching Kiwanuka was awarded the Prize), Hazel Wilde, Paul Gregory, Ol Ketteringham, Bob Allan, and Angela Chanfinally were acknowledged for their craft.

The nomination spurred the band to continue working even in the midst of a global pandemic. They had more stories to tell, a history to document, and now a legacy upon which to build. Yesterday, they announced they will end the year in sharing one final gift, The Realist EP. Its five songs are new and not remixes nor different renditions of previously-released songs. If the lead single is any indication, the group wish to shine a light for all as the curtain finally closes on 2020.

“The Realist” is quintessential Lanterns on the Lake. It is a stunning piece of post-rock cinema that enraptures and awes without the unnecessary theatrics. Instead, each member’s talent quietly shines. Chan’s weeping viola hums in step with Wilde’s light piano while Ketteringham’s feathery percussion adds the urgency to solemn mood. As the instruments cascade, Wilde delicately sings about finding a little bit of hope in difficult times. She has learned to slow things down and just learn to live She realizes that “every moth needs a flame” to indicate we all need brightness in our world. Later, she shares, “I found hope in the brushstrokes of a masterpiece”, indicating she finally appreciates the smallest things that make life great.

The song represents a change in tone for the band, but it is one that we certainly could use right now. “The Realist” is like an unexpected Christmas gift but in October. Here it below.

The EP is out December 11. Bella Union will once again release it. Pre-order it here or go directly to Bandcamp.

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