The National Lights To Release WHOM THE SEA WILL KEEP This Friday, Stream The EP In Full At Northern Transmissions
The National Lights will release their new EP, Whom The Sea Will Keep on February 22 viaBloodShake Records (pre-order). The EP follows up The National Lights' critically acclaimed album The Dead Will Walk, Dear. In anticipation of Friday's release date the album is streaming in full at Northern Transmissions. About the EP Northern Transmissions says, "The band draws inspiration from such far-ranging subjects as Southern Gothic literature and maritime lore but never stray far from traditional folk instrumentation and melodies. The trio's forthcoming release 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."
"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.
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 first loves. 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.
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