Quietly for years now, Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s Lanterns On the Lake have been delivering slow, languid beauty that never quite broke through into the wider world (though 2020’s Spook the Herd was nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize – QRO album review). Yet now with Version of Us, they’ve taken a big step forward in being bigger (and not just because they recruited on drums Philip Selway, of a little band called Radiohead…).
Loosely based around singer Hannah Wilde’s (QRO interview) journey in motherhood, there is a definite world-weary strain to Versions, but it is complimented by an uplifting call to living on songs such as “Real Life”, “String Theory”, and particularly the more kiss-off “Rich Girls”. Meanwhile, “Vatican” traffics in a slyer world-weary acceptance, and the opening “The Likes of Us” accepts being “a wreck”.
Bringing to mind the kind of grand alt-pop of fellow British leading ladies like in Florence & The Machine and Texas, Versions of Us is Lanterns On the Lake staking a claim to their own sad, epic life.