Hurray for inuendo. Also, OMG more Pedal Steel!!!
I recently had the opportunity to watch a live show by Toronto based folk-rock group Great Lake Swimmers. I honestly had no idea what to expect from them, but the venue was across the street from my apartment and my Friday night was depressingly open. The show was great, but it was certainly one of those that would have been enhanced with the presence of an SO to cozy up to during the set. The dreamy and soothing harmonies, backed by lilting piano and rich guitar lines, left me with a half-baked grin on my face and a warm, fuzzy feeling on the inside. The diversity of the audience took me by surprise: from small children to elderly couples. It’s a sound that can span generations, apparently… as an aside, WHO ARE THESE AWESOME RETIREES!? Please let me be as awesome when I get to that age.
The tour was to promote the release of their new album Lost Channels. I picked up a vinyl copy after the show to spin and was pleasantly surprised with the variety of offerings they’ve proffered on this latest release. My favourite track, Concrete Heart, was explained by lead singer Tony Dekker as one he was commissioned to write (first time evar!). The theme? Toronto architecture between 1960-1970. While it seems like a limiting topic of choice, it works… and ends up being one of the stronger tracks on the album. The string backing gives the overall feel of reminiscing, while the lyrics (this is the place where I felt/like the world’s tallest self-supporting tower/ at least for a little while anyway) anchored in some pretty serious emotion, can still elicit a giggle or two - knowing where they stem from.
For something a little more light-hearted, I skip a few tracks and turn up the volume on The Chorus in the Underground. A tribute to a defunct venue and a band that no longer exists, this countrified and bouncy track is certain to get toes-a-tappin’. It’s your basic singalong smattered with some fiddle and a healthy dose of banjo. The latter is really what gives the track its character, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
They cap off the album with the gorgeous piece Unison Falling into Harmony. I don’t mean to paint this one with the cliché brush, but it’d be a fantastic wedding song for the alt-couple looking for something off the beaten path (the only thing between us is a breath of air, a river of fear, a ship we can’t steer/ A curtain of rain, a layer of skin, a determined stare, a dare). It’s the perfect easing off from the ups and downs over the span of album, though the abrupt ending leaves something to be desired… which perhaps is the intention.
This is a great album when I’m in the mood for something that’s chill, but not moody: something to throw on on a weekend while you laze around the house (read: avoid housework. At least that’s what I’m up to). You can catch the band on tour for the next 3 months with Kate Maki (who is also pretty awesome)… and a tip from me? This is a date idea WIN that won’t soon be forgotten. You can thank me when you get laid later.
You can pick up their album on Amazon, iTunes or at one of their many tour stops this spring. Check ‘em out!