Essential New Music: Lost Horizons’ “Ojala”

Two decades after bootstrapping the insanely successful Bella Union label in the wake of Cocteau Twins’ 1997 split, that band’s Simon Raymonde has emerged from self-imposed musical purgatory in partnership with drummer Richie Thomas (Dif Juz) as Lost Horizons, and the results are nothing short of stunning. If you can imagine the Twins or perhaps mid-period Golden Palominos fronted by an endlessly rotating cast of vocalists—ranging from Innocence Mission’s Karen Peris to Duke Spirit’s Leila Moss to Sharon Van Etten, and a host of other distinct voices in between—all obsessing over mid-’70s David Gilmour-fronted Floyd, you’re nearly there. Deeply melancholic in a manner that requires both life experience and the optimism required to overcome those episodes to appreciate, Ojala (meaning “hopefully” in Spanish) instantly emerges as an emotional and musical touchstone for 2017, with “The Places We’ve Been” as its thematic, sad-eyed anthem.

—Corey duBrowa