Newcastle's Lanterns On The Lake follow up their impressive début Gracious Tide, Take Me Home with new album Until The Colours Run; a more robust record with big, bold guitars more reminiscent, with the every-present Hazel Wilde adding the vocals. The effect is not too far from Cocteau Twins backed by Explosions In The Sky (the band they supported in 2012).
Until The Colours Run excels when the band exploit this hardened sound with opener Elodie and The Buffalo Days the early highlights. The latter builds on a gliding vocal structure into a exquisite chorus and superb drums from Oliver Ketteringham as the guitars shimmer and lift into the final minute. The album's title track is equally brilliant, a faster pop song racing through three minutes before the final subtle ambience, while Another Tale From Another English Town provides the album's masterpiece, like a long lost track from The Cure's Disintegration. Beautiful strings and guitars blend with Wilde's shaped vocals.
But the songs falter when the melodies are absent. The Ghost That Sleeps In Me breaks the momentum of a good start - disjointed theatre with quiet scenes and a massive cinematic soundtrack and Picture Show drifts and ambles, going nowhere and lacking ideas. A surprise break of the formula is the wonderful Green And Gold, a fragile love-song exposing Wilde's voice and delicate lyricism. It is a captivating five minute centre-piece. And closer Our Cool Decay brings the album to an unfussy, sedate, yet underwhelming, end.
Lanterns On The Lake have a long way to go to make the perfect album and while Until The Colours Run is more adventurous than Gracious Tide, Take Me Home, it lacks the consistency and the grace of the début.