Liar’s Lantern: “Walk This Road With Me” – a texturally rich body of work
Liar’s Lantern is a project by Robert Fitzhugh that lives in its own meadow, based out of Oak Creek, CO. Focused on creating albums of original compositions, they are revivalists without paying obvious homage to the departed. They constantly use acoustic guitars, pianos and other organic instrumentation without floundering in strum pattern purgatory. They go for indie, pop, folk and alternative rock sounds, not in equal measure but in equal ambition and don’t fall into self-parody at any time. They are both instrumental and vocal. For the most part, ‘they’, refers to Fitzburg who you will find on guitars, keyboards, as well as drums and percussion. But he also appears behind the boards and has a hand in the arrangements and songwriting.
Liar’s Lantern has released three albums – “Aphelion” in July of 2016, “Walk This Road With Me” in March of 2017, and “Petrichor” in September of 2017. We specifically laid our ears on the second “Walk This Road With Me”. Liar’s Lantern have moved in every direction on this recording. Everything about this album is more.
More beautiful meandering, more unpredictability, more guitars, more percussion, more harmony, more thought, more everything. But don’t let that make you think this is some maximalist event stuffed with everything. Robert Fitzhugh does not forsake tastefulness and meticulousness for the sake of more.
This second album, is a meandering, texturally rich body of work from a project that refuses to be predictable. “Walk This Road With Me” seems to have zero concern with some of the thought processes that plague indie records — it is ambitious in its creative intent and diversity.
This record constantly sounds joyously free from the ice cube trays modern day records are forced into fitting. Of all the records you listen to this year, this might be the one that is the most tempting to dismiss on a first listen, but by the third replay you will be thoroughly hooked by its rewards.
As soon as “Mariner’s Curse”, the opening track, kicks in, you know that Liar’s Lantern is clearly capable of making a “hit” indie record, but they are constantly making decisions motivated by art and direction and never by whatever bull is deemed important by some guy in a suit at a failing record label. Hence the track languishes in a hazy blanket of acoustic warmth as Zach Beerger’s slightly gravelly voice engulfs you.
“The World Forgets, But We Don’t” is an instrumental motif gently but surefootedly guided by Robert Fitzhugh’s earnest guitar tones. “Lucidity” opens in a whirlwind of strings which again features Beerger’s vocal ruminations. The mid-tempo acoustic-guitar driven lament, “Autumn Mountain”, introduces the vocal interludes of Leah Hart.
The perception is that it is perhaps Liar’s Lantern’s deceiving inventiveness that makes their music stand out. They seem to never create anything that couldn’t be replicated live, and yet there are so many layers, so many unexpected twists and turns, so many subtle moments.
Listen to the surprising sonic changes from the Americana influenced “What Is Better” to the luscious orchestral and choral soundscape of “Aokigahara (Three Apologies)”. Emotions fly high throughout “Walk This Road With Me”, mixing solid vocals with matching instrumental backgrounds, giving listeners truly the best of everything good organic music has to offer.
When the recording closes with the track “You And I”, the feeling is that you have listened to something that’s clearly had a lot of time, love and attention poured into it, something made by artists admirably trying to push their sound forward, by following their own lane.