The National Lights Release New Single LANTERN AND WHALEBONE
The National Lights are excited to share their new single, "Lantern and Whalebone," from their new EP, Whom the Sea Will Keep, out on February 22 via BloodShake Records (pre-order). The track premiered this week at Atwood Magazine and is available to share via Soundcloud or Spotify.
About the song Atwood Magazine says:
"Lantern and Whalebone" begins in humble fashion, with a banjo and Berns' raw vocals. As the song moves into its second and third verses, it grows - gaining melodic contour and colorful harmony, until it's bursting with palpable poignant energy. This, short, yet transformative timespan sees a momentary glance backward morph into a fully-formed realization of life's misses and losses; it's not long before our hearts go out to this lonely narrator. We may not be dedicating our lives to the ocean with the same abandon, but The National Lights do help us look at the hurdles it takes to commit oneself to a dream or passion, and the ramifications of that commitment. You may not realize what you're giving up tomorrow, through your actions today.
Last month, the band released the single "Swift Ships" from the forthcoming release. The track premiered at The 405 and can also be shared at Soundcloud or Spotify. About the song The National Lights' Jacob Thomas Berns told The 405, "The draw of the ocean and pull of the land are currents throughout the EP. Even as this song's narrator romanticizes the ocean life, he bemoans what he gave up for it, asking his listener not to make the same mistake." He continues, "You can't have it both ways, but that doesn't make the choice any less disheartening. Little doubt, had this song's narrator remained on land, he would have longed for what he'd given up to stay. He may have become the audience in another narrator's song. Regret is just part of the deal."
The National Lights formed in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., in 2004 as a vehicle for singer/songwriter Jacob Thomas Berns. Joined by singer/songwriters Chris Kiehne and Sonya Cotton, The National Lights draw inspiration from such far-ranging subjects as Southern Gothic literature and maritime lore but never stray far from traditional folk instrumentation and melodies.
The band's debut, The Dead Will Walk, Dear, features small American towns, rivers and fields, and falling in love. But the towns hide secrets, the landscape hides graves. A song cycle about a Midwestern murder, The Dead Will Walk, Dear's unvarnished look at passion and regret is complemented by sparse arrangements and subtle harmonies. Pitchfork noted the album's "moments of striking beauty" and sense of horror that builds with repeated listens: "The record disarms you so thoroughly ... you almost become like one of the victims from Berns' songs." Treble called the album "an incredible piece of Gothic art," comparing it to Sufjan Stevens' "John Wayne Gacy, Jr." in its ability to find "humanity and pathos in [its] subject."
On Whom the Sea Will Keep, The National Lights turn to the sea ballad, expanding their sound to include percussion, accordion, and vocal rounds. While The Dead Will Walk, Dear was written and recorded in the band's final years of college, Whom the Sea Will Keep took shape between the summers of 2008 and 2018 in the ebbs of work, graduate school, and cross-country moves (Berns, Kiehne, and Cotton have dispersed to Eugene, Ore.; Baltimore; and Salt Lake City, respectively). This intermittent process meant the album, like its ocean setting, was constantly in flux, even as it remained the same at heart. These are songs about ghosts, drownings, drastic measures, and white whales that explore the lines between history and myth, fool and legend.