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First Listen: Lord Huron, 'Lonesome Dreams'

NPR icon by Stephen Thompson

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Ever scroll around on an old-fashioned radio dial and hear two stations drift together? It's like a distant, ghostly ancestor of the mashup, wherein one band's rhythms might mix with another's guitar solo to create something new, if ephemeral and hard to re-create. Lonesome Dreams, the first full-length album from the L.A. band Lord Huron, creates that effect at times, as the cavernous choruses of Fleet Foxes or My Morning Jacket collide with the polyrhythmic playfulness of, say, Givers.

It's an alluring mix. Indie-choirboy folk music has a way of sometimes slowing to a crawl — of sacrificing momentum at the altar of prettiness — while a lot of vaguely worldly, rhythm-intensive music can feel sterile and showy, its emotion lost amid the precision. The brainchild of singer-songwriter Ben Schneider, Lord Huron finds a way to triangulate the best of both sounds, with songs that feel wide-open and ambitious, but also giddy and unpredictable. There's motion to them, whether or not the percussion has kicked in. Songs like "Time to Run," with its goofy Western-style video, have a roiling quality, while maintaining room to breathe and seethe along the way.

Out Oct. 9, Lonesome Dreams comes along at just the right time of year, meeting as it does between the beachy lightness of summer and the bittersweet plaintiveness of autumn. It straddles the seasons with disarming deftness — sunny enough to distract, sweet enough to comfort.

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Audio for this feature is no longer available.