Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Great Lake Swimmers: Lost Channels

Artist: Great Lake Swimmers
Album: Lost Channels
Date Released: March 31, 2009
Genre: indie-rock, folk-pop
Initial rating: 7.3


This March saw the release of the fourth full-length from Canadian outfit Great Lake Swimmers. Lost Channels is a welcoming record that paces effortlessly through its twelve songs like running water. The elegance of this record is highlighted in the beauty ridden tracks "Pulling on a line" and "Stealing tomorrow."

This Toronto based band is formed around songwriter Tony Dekker. With Lost Channels, his music is as inspiring and accomplished as ever. And with his ability get the best out of his work, he has created a highly satisfying listen glued together by a dominating lyrical presence and atmospheric instrumentation.

The roaming repetition of “Concrete heart” stands as one of the album's highlight tracks. It not only delivers Dekker’s trademark novel lyric writing abilities, but also matches his skill in weaving together pristine piano phrasings and stepping-stone chord changes.

Reminiscent of the soothing work of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s The Letting Go and at times the warmth of softer efforts from New Jersey’s Yo La Tengo, this record boasts a refined collection of loveable indie-folk gems. Dekker has compiled a sensual and serene listen. The craftsmanship involved is delicate yet firm; Lost Channels holds many songs expressing the charm in simplicity.

As "She comes to me in dreams" crashes into play, the uplifting rhythms seamlessly marry with the wondrous slide guitar. Its sensational melodic break-down sections recollect Pet Sounds era Beach Boys. The penultimate track “River’s edge” features dainty vocals that mask the soft hardship of the poetic lyrics. This deep method of song writing serves as another compelling colour to Dekker’s palette:
Got to live live live
And love love love
Whether you like it or not
I will love you
Lost Channels could be enjoyable curled up on a beanbag with headphones, or to ponder over as you gaze at the majestic landscapes of a picturesque countryside as you pass through on a train. This imagery is clear to conceive as you listen to the closing passages of final track "Unison falling into harmony."

This record doesn’t seem to hold a master plan, nor is it clear that it bares any type of grudge. This record is simply forty comforting minutes well spent. Though Lost Channels would be most appealing to fans of similar artists, I imagine its soft and ready personality would be attractive and accessible to all.

Reviewed by Leigh Padley

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