Indie music comes in several shapes and forms. Cleveland, Ohio group The Lighthouse and The Whaler have shifted from the likes of folk, pop, rock, blues-y and beyond over the years. In 2015, the trio released their expansive third album Mont Royal, and a couple years later came out with the stunning, Paths EP. Equipped with two brand new singles this year already—‘Into The Unknown’ and ‘Future Blind’ - The Lighthouse and The Whaler is making another substantial leap forward within their artistry. Led by singer/guitarist Michael LoPresti, the band returned to Los Angeles on May 18 at the Moroccan Lounge as part of their Into The Unknown tour. Despite not hailing from LA, their sonic palette feels and breathes the landscape of the City of Angles to the fullest. Their fourteen-song set reinvigorated the crowd as the members put on a fierce, bold, and transfixing presentation as if time hadn’t even passed since their last time in the city.

Echoing the likes of early Local Natives and Young The Giant, TLATW churn out songs with considerable emotion, complexity, and sprawling arrangements. Performing songs across their entire repertoire, the group kicked off the night with ‘Light Waves’ from 2017’s Paths. The mid-tempo endeavor felt like an idyllic exploration of self-discovery embracing a fresh sound for a band making music for a decade now. Emotionally stimulating, ‘Light Waves’ displayed dreamy guitar chords and passionate vocals that came off like a reverie you didn’t want to snap out of. Appearing on 2015’s Mont Royal, ‘Closer’ is the type of tune to get one excited about something all over again. The crowd was rejuvenated on their Friday night with ‘Closer’ as its crisp sounds and continuous momentum carried us through the night. A toe-tapping song, ‘Closer’ gets the body moving in all the ways it should be at an indie-rock show.

‘Venice’, which hails from 2012’s This Is an Adventure, is one of the band’s most cherished tunes. It’s a simple endeavor that is exceedingly charming and lovely. With the repeated lyrics of “Why don’t we fall in love?”, it makes one ruminate about their crush or significant other. Ebullient and warm, the reception for ‘Venice’ was welcoming as fans were enthralled with such a divine demonstration. Taken from 2015’s Mont Royal, ‘In Motion’ is an audacious tune that was performed with both heart and irrefutable passion. The notion of vehemently pushing on despite darkness or difficult times comes to mind when listening on to this one. Newer single, ‘Into The Unknown’ is indie folk rock at its core. Reminiscent of The Head and The Heart and The Lumineers, the song possesses TLATW’s signature flair that makes it feels unique and renewed within the tiresome subgenre. A song “capturing the spirit of exploration,” as LoPresti had noted when the song was initially released, ‘Into The Unknown’ lives up to its title, feeling as if life is just one great big unknown. Latest release, ‘Future Blind’ shows further development in the group’s sonic structure. Landing somewhere between indie rock and indie pop, the song’s emboldening vocals and revitalized sounds make it clear the group is heading down a different direction with many surprises awaiting for us in the coming months.

The closing track ‘I Want To Feel Alive’ was absolutely powerful with its reverb guitars, vibrant arrangements, and elevating tempo. It was salient when LoPresti convincingly sung the line, “I want to feel alive” throughout the song, he was trying to get his proclamation heard loud and clear. When performing this song, there was an incredible amount of persuasion and strength in his voice, making the audience share the same sentiment as him. The Lighthouse and The Whaler’s performance made me take a step back to take a look at the things that matter in my own trajectory. On one side, the band plays fun, laidback indie rock that lets you forget about being world sick. However, on the other side of the coin, when they dig for something deeper, as they do often, there’s incredible wisdom to be both heard and found. The band’s glorious set may have provided a guide for those seeking direction in certain avenues of life. Nonetheless, the band delivered a rousing, memorable hour of music to an audience of dreamers and realists that are heading into a weekend filled with chances, choices, and a world of great possibilities.