Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
It might not be a huge concern, but it is a preoccupation for Ben Schneider, the lead singer for Los Angeles-based group Lord Huron. It's this thought of things - people, creatures, enigmas - emerging from out of the grand and gaping sea. The cover of the band's latest album features what appears to be a salty and foggy early morning along a beachhead somewhere mystical and there's a pachyderm halfway out of the water. It seems imposing and frightening, but there are a couple people on the beach. They seem to be unafraid and though the photograph couldn't possibly show movement, we get the sense that they're strolling toward the monster, to get a closer look, to welcome it, to ride it.
This scene only blends right into, or plays off the song, "The Stranger," on which Schneider is just as engrossed with the concept of being confronted by something (this time a lover) coming from the ocean. He sings, "If you are who you say you are then show your face/You came out of the ocean/Like you came out of a dream/Your voice it sounds familiar but you're are not what you seem/All the words of comfort cannot take away my doubt/I decided if it kills me I'll find out what you're about…/Of all the strangers/You're the strangest I have seen." It's a song that goes heavy on deception and the mysterious nature of this person with - at minimum - two or three faces. It's a song that depicts a day where the fog never burns completely off. It sticks around for the entire day, never lightening or fading. There's no clearing, just a good, thick blanket throughout.
It's meditative, in a way. It gives you a feeling that you're locked into a mood that's not going anywhere and there should be no hurry to get out of there. There's nothing to run from. There's no reason to leave. That elephant isn't going to do anything to us. It might even have something to teach us. It is miraculously appearing from out of the middle of the ocean. We should stop to think about how great the odds are of that ever happening again. It's quite the day.