Lanterna’s Backyards Echoes March CD of the Month

An Excursion in Ambient Americana from Lanterna is Echoes March CD of the Month

Backyards-Framed copyLanterna’s Backyards opens with the rollicking title track, a screaming ride down the Pacific Coast highway kind of song that you might expect to hear from the Eagles in their rare instrumental moments. It’s a great song with the twangy guitar and it’s also a little misleading as an album opener because nothing else on Backyards sounds like this. Instead, the album picks up where Lanterna left off 9 years ago with the CD, Desert Ocean: gorgeous open chord songs with reverb-drenched delay guitar lines calling out across an endless plain.

Lanterna is Henry Frayne, who we first heard playing guitar in the shoegaze/dream-pop bands Area and The Moon Seven Times. As Lanterna he’s been creating a distinctive brand of Ambient Americana, a sound first put in the air by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois on the Apollo album.

Each song on Backyards is like an exquisite reverie. “Monticello Farm” reveals its origins as a song that started by strumming an acoustic guitar. That initial DNA centers the piece, but it’s Louie Simon’s rolling drums and Frayne’s distantly echoed guitar that carries the tune into the mystic. “Sicily” is another one with acoustic guitar roots that immediately establish a wistful feeling as a cyclical refrain slowly walks across Simon’s asymmetric hand percussion rhythm.
LanternaThe songs with the strongest backbeat, like “Verdant,” highlight Frayne as a lead guitarist with country-bent solos, but are the least atmospheric on the album. Frayne works best when his guitar is spinning out refracted lines ringing out across Simon’s trance drum groove on “Coastal Route. ” Inspired by the road along the rugged coast of Maine, it’s a different, lazier kind of highway trek than “Backyards.”

Lanterna does something that’s not easy. His songs are heavily atmospheric but instead of the enclosed, immersive feel that sound often yields, his compositions gallop along pastoral back roads and across desert plains, open to the sky and gathering light like a sun-catcher. Backyards isn’t the one behind your house, it’s the one behind your mind.
“Coastal Route”

John Diliberto

  2 comments for “Lanterna’s Backyards Echoes March CD of the Month

  1. Lance Shrapnel
    August 31, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    Stumbled onto John Diliberto’s “Echoes” a couple of Saturday evenings ago while driving home in the car…I would listen to Diliberto’s programs every time I’m in the car, if they were only on…too bad they only come on so infrequently.) He was interviewing Henry Frayne and Lanterna was playing in the studio. I have no idea if it was a re-broadcast from an earlier session or what. I heard only the last couple of tunes in the interview as the program was about over. I was pretty much blown away by the evocative music and how good it sounded with what I guess were just a couple of guys playing live, particularly when you consider the actual music they were producing…just the two of them. At least I think there were only two of them. The show was over too quickly for my tastes.

    I enjoy Harold Budd, Robin Gutherie and others who do the “ambient music” thing but had never really heard an ambient-type music (I hope Lanterna is NOT insulted by my classifying it that way) with guitars as the centerpiece and the primary instrument. I found it incredibly appealing and as soon as I walked in the door at home immediately started searching the internet to learn what I could about the group I’ve purchased all their CDs at this point over the last couple of weeks and have turned a few other like minded individuals onto this group. I really love this music and have not had anyone I’ve ever played it for (at work mostly) NOT like it. I’ve pretty much been listening to their catalog non-stop since I got it. It’s music that never bores. I can’t believe I’d never heard of these guys before as I am constantly checking out Rhapsody and Spotify exploring all the links and similar artists these sites recommend. I have pretty broad taste listening to everything from Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays, Keith Jarrett, Frank Sinatra, Jeff Beck, Leo Kottke, Alex De Grassi, Miles Davis, Billy Gibbons, Shirley Horn, Gordon LIghtfoot, Mark Knopfler, Brian Auger, Ry Cooder, Ryuichi Sakamoto…and MANY, MANY more. I hope these guys have great success as their music is so comforting, fresh, different and unique. Go Henry and Louie (I love what you do with Henry’s music…takes a special drummer to pull this off) Well, enough effusiveness! Listening to their song “Grey” off the SANDS CD as I write this email. Very cool.

    • Simon
      January 26, 2016 at 10:08 am

      Lance – For more of the same check out Sumner McKane; he’s another magical, hypnotic guitarist, although his song titles are often just plain nuts.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.