It’s been quite the year for Newcastle’s Lanterns On The Lake. Having released the excellent Spook the Herd during the first part of 2020, they reward their devotees with new music to round off the year, with The Realist EP.
With one of the richest piano lines they’ve given us yet, The Realist is as modest as it is beautiful. Releasing it as the eponymous song on an EP almost does it a disservice, but for ardent followers of the band, in years to come it’ll be one of those hidden treasures they go back to.
Understudy and Romans are sleepy slowcore jams that float with grace. On the former, Hazel Wilde sings, “You know when you laugh/You look like a friend I had”. It sounds like a simple line, but feels like it possesses a deeper meaning, giving the song extra emotional weight and making it one of the most pivotal moments on the EP.
A slower version of Baddies (Model City Version) occupies the EP’s core. I normally err on the side of caution when bands shoehorn alternative versions in amongst new songs, but so good is this stripped back alternative that’s held together by a gentle string section, on this occasion we’ll let the cynicism slide. It’s Christmas after all…
Model City closes the EP. It’s a brooding collage of sounds that are ripe for a soundtrack for some BBC drama, but in a good way. It’s actually something you would expect Erland Cooper to carve out.
The Realist EP caps off a fantastic year for Lanterns On The Lake. While they were never going to win the Mercury Music Prize – an award so London-centric, one would think that it’s the only place that exists in Britain, still it was probably good exposure for a band that has worked tirelessly to get to where they are today.
With Spook the Herd being their finest album yet, The Realist EP is a beautiful companion to it.
The Realist is out now via Bella Union. Purchase from Bandcamp.