Album Review: Lord Huron Look To The Cosmos On Vide Noir

Album Reviews
Jasmine Albertson

Lord Huron have always resided in a cinematic world. Their debut album Lonesome Dreams transported us into a Spaghetti Western, all sprawling Americana and vast horizons. Last year, the indie folk band’s cinematic sound met real cinema when their song “The Night We Met” was used pivotally and repeatedly in Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, giving the song second life after its initial release in 2015 on sophomore album Strange Trails and getting a platinum certification in January.

Its this push in popularity that puts an extra layer of pressure on the LA band’s third studio album. Vide Noir is their first release on a major label and they’ve used the signing for a grandiose rollout. Ahead of its release, seven songs from Vide Noir were made available to stream at geo-locations across the United States, Canada, the UK, and Australia using, which uses your phone’s GPS to guide you to the hand-selected locations, including national parks, hikes, beaches, and even a volcano. The band is also launching a Vide Noir public access television show in select cities nationwide, designed to be an immersive program that “expands upon the album's narratives and themes while showcasing the hidden world that inhabits Vide Noir.” 

Behind all this opulence, Vide Noir feels far more intimate than Lord Huron’s previous releases. Rather than staring out into a dusty rural plane, ready for adventure, frontman Ben Schneider is looking up to the cosmos, asking for help. The lyricism on the album is consistent in its heartache and melancholy, so consistent one could call it a concept album revolving around the girl that got away. 

The theme kicks off with the opening track “Lost in Time and Space,” whose lyrics read: “I guess she’s gone for good / She don’t call me like I thought she would / She went west to chase her dreams / She took my money but she didn’t take me.” Such a classic country music trope could read as corny, but Schneider makes it work by placing them in a floating, dream-like soundscape until we’re jolted awake with the second track “Never Ever,” where, once again, Schneider is still mourning the loss of his girl who went west.

Standout tracks include the doo-wop ballad “Wait By the River” and the television placement-ready “When the Night Is Over.” The latter best encapsulates the moody, starry atmosphere of the album. Released as the third single off the album at the end of March, the nostalgic slow-burner has already become one of the band’s most popular songs, only second behind “The Night We Met” on Spotify. Throughout the album, Schneider takes us through a complete and epic odyssey with musical twists and turns while staying in the same universe.Vide Noir The Film practically unfolds itself before you as you listen, which is what Schneider does best: transporting listeners into a world of his making. It may not be a happy one but its beautiful all the same. And, perhaps, as the old joke goes, if you play it backwards Schneider will get his girl (and his truck and his dog) back.

Lord Huron will be in Seattle on Friday, June 8 to play the Moore Theatre.



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