Having come a long way from their start in a barn next to their first recording studio, The Lighthouse and the Whaler’s third full-length album continues to carry the same sort of resounding calmness that permeates not only their past two albums, The Lighthouse and the Whaler (2009) and This is an Adventure (2012), but the entirety of Mont Royal. Michael LoPresti, Matthew LoPresti, Mark Porostosky, and Ryan Walker have found their stride and left their mark in the difficult-to-navigate waters of the alternative music industry.
Mont Royal opens with “In Motion,” a song that sets a tone of resolve and fortitude that is strung out through the rest of the album. Each chorus ends with a deafening, “I’m okay!”, solidifying the ability to take what’s been handed to you and remain steadfast and defiant. “I Want to Feel Alive” follows, echoing the sentiments found in the first track. While the nature of the lyrics might seem redundant, the continued use of the phrase “I want to feel alive” has an empowering effect, leaving the listener contented and exasperated with newfound energy. Coupled with the dramatic and rousing drumming, “I Want to Feel Alive” is an anthem to the glory of life and having a soul.
For those who are familiar with The Lighthouse and the Whaler’s style, the band’s use of the violin in the forefront has been essential to their sound over time. While Mont Royal may not make as much use of it as on previous releases, the carefully placed notes that peek from the edges of songs such as “We Aren’t Who We Thought We Were” and “Glory” still provide the satisfying and thirst-quenching need for the vibrant instrument’s presence.
To finish out Mont Royal, “We Are Infinite” gathers all the voices and all the instrumentation into a steady firm beat that gradually works itself into a chilling chant of “we are infinite” that can be felt just as much as it is heard. The slower tempo used allows the song to thump steadily rather than bounce haphazardly. This ability to control the energy produced by each song is another marvel of the band. The boys have generated a natural and unique capacity to express a spectrum of emotions — a rare ability without going over a number of edges.
Mont Royal is a cohesive, well-crafted masterpiece from beginning to end, providing a reprieve from daily life and offering an ocean of sensations and musical intensity upon which you are set adrift. This album carries the weight of heavy hymns that urge the need to forge ahead with a more mature air than is usually found in the voices and sounds of previous albums. The band has grown up and established a steady rhythm of what they want to share and how they share it.