Lord Huron emerged on the scene a few years back and has several EP’s to his credit, all of which were well received. The Michigan native and L.A. resident, otherwise known as Ben Schneider, found success by marrying the wide-open spaces of Americana and folk rock with electronic and world influences. The results weren’t easy to pin down, but they were guaranteed to be exciting and to produce a number of unexpected turns. It is with some disappointment then that Schneider’s debut LP arrives with such a well tread story line. On Lonesome Dreams, he’s ditched most of the experimental aspirations in favor of straightforward folk rock, a plan that leaves more to be desired.
This record is decidedly post-Fleet Foxes, which is a let down since there is certainly no shortage of lonesome, dusty travelers ready to tell you about their trials and tribulations. Opening track ‘Ends of the Earth’ even goes so far as to borrow the vocal harmonization that Fleet Foxes have made their bread and butter.
When some artists decide to trim the fat and hone in on one sound it can be a welcome change, but in the case of Lord Huron it seems like he is doing himself a disservice by not expanding his sound. Lonesome Dreams is a one-note record. Spread across it’s ten tracks you’re not likely to find much difference from one to the next which is unfortunate coming from a guy that has inserted everything from spaced out synthesizers to Caribbean drums into his songs in the past.
Schneider is able to hit the mark though, even if it is for just a few brief moments. The sprawl of ‘I Will Be Back One Day’ and the spaghetti western panache of ‘Brother’ are easily the cream of the crop here. But otherwise this record yields only middling results. Schneider is a talented songwriter no doubt about that, but he’s not flexing his creative muscles as much as he has in the past.
Perhaps that is what is most memorable about Lonesome Dreams though. It’s a bunch of well-built songs that aren’t terrible by any stretch of the imagination, but at the same time you yearn for what they could’ve been.