Personnel: Angela Chan (strings); Simon Dennis, Tim Hurst (brass).
Audio Mixer: Paul Gregory.
Following a couple more lineup changes but with the founding core of singer Hazel Wilde, multi-instrumentalist Paul Gregory, and drummer Oliver Ketteringham still intact, Lanterns on the Lake present Beings, their absorbing third long-player. Written and recorded as a group in the band's rehearsal space with Gregory again overseeing production, the album doesn't mark a change in direction so much as an expansion; their signature atmospheric despondence remains but with scaled-up textures for lusher climaxes and, more to the point, starker contrasts. The loose and spacy opener, "Of Dust & Matter," for instance, has a broad range of instruments and effects, including much that is unidentifiable: what sound like processed samples, sci-fi film-like murmurs, and eerie thumps alongside marching keyboard chords, wailing electronics, full drums, and chiming electric guitars. At times the spooky mélange falls away to reveal only piano tones, guitar, and rueful vocals before building again. It's a particularly Siouxsie Sioux-evoking track with lyrics about "creatures," "dust," and "a town void of life." The solemn title track is similarly expansive and lustrous. While most of the songs are more conventional structure-wise, the otherworldliness permeates the album via weeping instrument timbres and lyrics like "I want to feel human" and "In another lifetime I thought I saw you peering through the cracks of age." Beings also offers the driving, poppier "Faultlines" and stripped-down moments like the folkier "The Crawl." All in all another strong outing from the Newcastle band, it dwells in a cloudy blend of dreams and creeping nightmares, unsettling yet captivating. ~ Marcy Donelson