Lord Huron: Lonesome Dreams

Arresting debut from Michigan songsmith.

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There’s a fair sprinkling of Fleet Foxes and even Band Of Horses in the softly cantering grooves of the folk-fired Lonesome Dreams. It’s essentially the brainchild of LA-based Ben Schneider, who began as a solo artist in 2010, travelling to Northern Michigan and carving out songs for what became his first EP, Into The Sun, beside the shore of Lake Huron.

Since then, Lord Huron has morphed into a five-piece band with a gift for exquisitely crafted harmonies and warm layers of acoustic guitars, piano and shuffling percussion. Schneider’s songs are rooted in American travelogue, with the album itself supposedly based on a series of adventure stories by fictitious novelist George Ranger Johnson.

All of this might suggest some hopelessly contrived concept piece, but the music unfurls with such delicate, uncluttered loveliness that you can’t help being drawn in. Some of it tends to merely glide by, but the celestial Ends Of The Earth could be a young Paul Simon on a misty mountaintop somewhere in the East, while the gorgeous skiffle-folk of Time To Run is indebted to both CSN and the mellifluous work of Phosphorescent.