Lord Huron is an indie folk band known for their unique sound and immersive stories. The group now includes Miguel Briseño (bass, keys, percussion, theremin), Mark Barry (percussion, vocals), Tom Renaud (guitar, vocals) and Ben Schneider (guitar, vocals, harmonica). Tracks like “The Night We Met” and “Meet Me In The Woods” have brought the group to serious popularity, with their loyal followers awaiting their return to music. The stories that Lord Huron spin are often grand and emotional, blending fiction with hard realities. Their debut album was entirely inspired by (and named after) George Ranger Johnson’s 1966 “Lonesome Dreams” adventure book series. They create “alternate realities” with their music, which is why it’s no mystery people feel so drawn into their projects.
The group emerged in February of 2021 with their virtual concert series, Alive From The Whispering Pines, where they shared fan favorites, teased new music and featured a complex story. The new track, “Not Dead Yet,” marks Lord Huron’s first release since 2018.
“Not Dead Yet” opens with an eerie stringed sound before upbeat acoustic guitar begins. Lead singer Ben Schneider begins, “All messed up with nowhere to go/I stare at myself in the mirror alone/It’s hard to make friends when you’re half in the grave…” The sound is bouncy and upbeat, but the lyrics are far grimmer. The stringed instruments under the bumping guitar have a darker and shaky sound, like an uncomfortable trembling truth existing behind a facade.
“There’s a stranger in my eyes again/I swear to God I don’t know him,” Ben sings of not recognizing the person you’ve become as he discusses the state of disarray in which he’s found himself. He switches between the subject of “me” and “you,” demonstrating the distance he feels from himself, “You’re tired of me I’m tired of you/So turn around and leave it to myself.”
The instrumental break sounds like it belongs in a film when they show a character dotting across the country, using the map travel montage technique. One can imagine a character on horseback winding around canyons. Ben sings of this trip, “I’ve been out way too long/Heading right for the edge,” this visit to “the edge” appeared on their Vide Noir album, on the song, “Back from the Edge.” It sings about a man almost dipping into the “vide noir,” which is the black void — despair and death. He’s trying to pull himself away from the edge again, “If she asks about me/Tell her I’m not dead yet!”
“Not Dead Yet” is the introduction to another one of Lord Huron’s stories. If their previous projects have journeys into the Northwest, depicting deep greens and glossy waters, then “Not Dead Yet” is a trip to the Southwest, offering an arid orange landscape. The album could continue to center around their local area of Michigan (Lake Huron), and Whispering Pines indicated that it likely will. Yet still, the track conjures images of great adventures in the West. Lord Huron’s “Not Dead Yet” comes at a time when many people need a reminder that there is still a lot of life left to live outside of the current state of entrapment.