This new Lord Huron record is as lush and stunning as expected. What could’ve been a hipster flash-in-the-pan band is blossoming into a really full-fledged folk endeavor – one whose live performance, I can testify, is a powerful display of showmanship. Founder and frontman Ben Schneider is as talented and belt-worthy as the recordings make him sound, and he embraces the talents of his backing band, like with a clever decision to posit the drummer sideways, side stage, allowing the audience a vantage point rarely seen.

“Strange Trails” picks up where “Lonesome Dreams” left off, as elemental as its predecessor but a little more wild, a little more exploratory beyond the woods into pop-song structure influenced by folk leanings. I love the delays and echos, the constant percussive spine, and Schneider’s cavalier-cowboy finesse. My favorite so far is opening track “Love Like Ghosts,” a song I first heard through headphones drifting off to sleep. “La Belle Fleur Sauvage” is winning me over with its hushed blend of western twang and romantic gestures, “Cursed” is that perfect blend of sunny and lonely, and the end of “Yawning Grave” sounds like something that would tear down the house live. This album is a shade or two darker than the debut, lyrically speaking, but it’s hardly depressing, more like sorrow moving through its expected motions of crawling back into hope in spite of loss, loneliness and mortality.

There’s something very roots rock about Lord Huron that won’t appeal to all indie listeners, especially those that have gone on to lighter/digitized fare from the dreadnought-focused groups, but I find this sound incredibly grounding. It’s rather classic, too, with songs like “Way Out There” and “Frozen Pines” evoking The Eagles desert era. I love how unafraid to “go there” this band is, touching and toying with all the instruments and sounds they can find to create something rich. I love how easily I can turn on this record and tune out, how it sounds so vast and open and unashamed, much like all the landscapes it describes. I love how, just in the nick of the time when everything was starting to sound the same, I’ve rediscovered an artist’s new approach to pass the time and distract my mind.

“Yes I know that love is like ghosts
Oh, few have seen it, but everybody talks

Spirits follow everywhere I go
Oh they sing all day and they haunt me in the night,
Oh they sing all day and they haunt me in the night.

Yes I know that love is like ghosts
Oh, and what ain’t living can never really die,
You don’t want me baby please don’t lie,
Oh but if you’re leaving, I gotta know why,
I said if you’re leaving, I gotta know why,
Oh I sing all day and I love you through the night.

Yes I know that love is like ghosts
Oh and the moonlight, baby shows you what’s real
There ain’t a language for the things I feel,
And if I can’t have you then no one ever will,
Oh, if I can’t have you then no one ever will.

I don’t feel it till it hurts sometimes
Oh go on baby, hurt me tonight.
I want ours to be an endless song,

Baby in my eyes you do no wrong.


I don’t feel it till it hurts sometimes

So go on baby hurt me tonight
All the spirits that I know I saw
Do you see no ghost in me at all ?

Oh I sing all day and I love you through the night
Oh I sing all day and I love you through the night
Oh I sing all day and I love you through the night
Oh I sing all day and I love you through the night.

~Love Like Ghosts
Lord Huron, Strange Trails