Unbefitting a music critic, my impulse of late has been to jealously guard the music I enjoy rather than dissect it, for myself or anyone else. As the days have grown shorter, I’ve clung to albums like Orillia Opry’s Lighthouse for Stragglers’ Eyes much as I did its predecessor, 2006’s Pandion Haliaetus, for light and warmth. How foolish, like everything on Montreal’s treasured Ships at Night label, Lighthouse for Stragglers’ Eyes deserves a wider audience for its comfortable, confident, and adventurous mien. Like their debut, Lighthouse features mostly delicate, acoustic folk-based arrangements, but it can also snarl and burn like Crazy Horse in their prime. Opener “Shadow Shadow” is all shrug and lurch, with disarming shifting rhythms and keening harmonies between Daniel Noble and Emma Baxter. Elsewhere, foot-tappers like “Beacons On” beam out no less energy and intent for being unplugged. It might be just the kind of music to want to curl up and hibernate with, but ultimately, and especially when faced with songs as vibrant and true-ringing as the closer “Peace Will Come”, why would anyone want to keep such a wonderful band to oneself?
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