“You can see why Lord Huron’s sound is striking a chord at a time when rootsy indie-folk is enjoying its sepia-toned time in the sun…”
Lord Huron | The Lexington, London 08.02.13.
“Come on you son of a bitch.”
It’s two songs into Lord Huron’s second ever London show and things aren’t quite going according to plan. The sound is lumpy, almost dipping out altogether on occasions. Lead singer Ben Schneider’s main vocal microphone seems to be the culprit, having decided tonight is perhaps one performance too far, and the thick-bearded, white-toothed Schneider isn’t too happy. The group pause for a few minutes while the technical gremlins are shown the door – hardly the momentum-building start to a show that the Los Angeles five-piece would have wanted.
With their debut album only a few weeks old here in the UK it’s an impressive sell-out, even if it is the relatively modest surroundings of The Lexington, and you can see why Lord Huron’s sound is striking a chord at a time when rootsy indie-folk is enjoying its sepia-toned time in the sun. With almost every single line sung in two, often three part harmony, there is a natural comparison with Fleet Foxes but with added drive-time melodies and increased popsmarts.
The opening ‘Ends Of The Earth’ – bizarrely free from the sound problems that become apparent in the second song- highlights this wonderfully, with shuffling percussion and a western guitar twang underpinning mountain-top vocals and a precise, warm-centred melody. Schneider snarls as he hits the higher notes, his face contorting into a grimace of determined focus. ‘She Lit A Fire’ recalls David Gray at his oft-forgtton best; a shimmering, folky canter through a dusty desert, while non-album track ‘We Went Wild’ proves to be a top-drawer slice of afro-pop that Vampire Weekend wouldn’t turn their nose up at.
Surprisingly album highlight ‘Brother’ is absent, leaving the moment of the evening to the driving, roadtrip-inspiring ‘Time To Run’, with Schneider jigging on the spot as he launches into its muscular chorus. The set is concise at just eleven tracks, including a cover of The Kinks’ ‘Stranger’, but well-measured and well-paced. “Out there’s a world that calls for me girl, heading out in to the unknown…” sings Schneider on ‘Ends Of The Earth’. It’s a good attitude to have, as these are songs that will surely take his band farther and wider in the months and years to come.
Earlier in the evening, Welsh trio Golden Fable impress with a handful of haunting, folky, electronica indebted tunes. That frontwoman Rebecca Palin and Tim McIver seem to share a haircut, and with McIver’s long baggy suit trousers giving him the air of an art school elephant, they make for an strange looking gaggle, but their brand of elfin oddball pop can’t help but glide across the room, filling the senses with swathes of technicolour.