The National Lights' The Dead Will Walk, Dear isn't forging any new paths in the singer/songwriter genre. However, the path they’re walking is rock solid.
Traveling in the footsteps of Iron and Wine and Ray Lamontagne, the National Lights deliver a great disc of emotionally-wrought songs set to haunting music and beautiful vocals.
The voices of Jacob Thomas Berns, Ernest Christian Kiehne, and Sonya Cotton intertwine melodically over folk instrumentation to create an oft-mesmerizing sound. The choice of instruments, or moreover choice to leave the drums at home, works very well with the pace and lyrics of the songs.
There are a lot of great tracks here. The lap steel intro to “O, Ohio” is a perfect fit to a wonderfully written song, and the acoustic guitar on "Mess Around" is hypnotizing. Perhaps the disc's most solid track, "Riverbed," is a gut-wrenching track across the board, with pleading, desperate lyrics and captivating vocals.
At times this disc does seem to get a little monotonous – “Buried Treasure” and “The Water Is Wide” are the only upbeat tunes on the disc and serve as a somewhat welcomed change after a few too many melancholy songs. However, this is an trend across the whole genre of artists, not one limited to the National Lights; most people who pick this up know what they're getting in advance.
All in all, this is a great disc for winding down an evening, waking up in the morning, or any time you just want to hear some great tunes.