MY YEAR: Lanterns on the Lake | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Words: Bob Allan

Spook The Herd was a long time in the making, after a break between touring our last album and taking our time to write and record this one, it was a few years of blood, sweat and tears before it was finally released in February, and then… the whole world stopped. The tours and festivals were cancelled and we feared that the album we had worked so hard on might be forgotten, but then the most incredible plot twist happened and the record was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize.

It really did feel like a dream come true and it was quite a mind-blowing experience, the judges’ decisions are based solely on the quality of the music on the albums so to have Spook The Herd recognised in this way was an immensely proud feeling. The shortlisting allowed us to record a live performance for the award show on BBC4 and has led to so many more people finding our music. The band has been going for around ten years and hopefully it shows that perseverance and belief in what you’re doing can pay off.

How do you find hope beyond a year that has been ripped apart by a global pandemic, exacerbated inequalities and seen artists work stop overnight? It’s a difficult process but I think it’s an important one, and something that Hazel has crystallised in the lyrics of Spook The Herd; on the surface the record is about polarized politics, the impending climate crisis and personal loss, but at the heart of the album it’s about hope, trying to help each other and not letting fear overcome you. We’re hopeful that there’s some light at the end of the tunnel; that we can tackle these challenges together; that live music and culture will be valued even more as the life changing forces that they are; and that socially distanced and livestreamed shows will eventually become the ‘old normal’, so we can all have live music back in our lives and stand shoulder to shoulder in full venues once more.

Lanterns on the Lake’s Spook The Herd is out now via Bella Union


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