Cover image for The waves, the wake [compact disc] / Great Lake Swimmers.
Title:
The waves, the wake [compact disc] / Great Lake Swimmers.
Publication Information:
Burbank, CA : Nettwerk Records, [2018]

c2018 ; ©2018
Physical Description:
1 audio disc : CD audio, digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Title from disc label.

Compact disc.
Contents:
The talking wind -- In a certain light -- Alone but not alone -- Falling apart -- Side effects -- The real work -- Root systems -- Unmaking the bed -- Visions of a different world -- Holding nothing back -- Mouth of flames -- The open sea.
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GEN GRE Music CD Adult Music CD
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Summary

Summary

Recorded in a 145-year-old church in London, Ontario, the Canadian group's seventh full-length effort, which happens to coincide with their 15th anniversary, delivers enough bucolic atmosphere to seed an entire province. Pastoral chamber folk-pop has served as the foundation of Great Lake Swimmers' oeuvre since the group debuted in 2003, but The Waves, The Wake is the band's most ethereal outing to date. Eschewing, for the most part, the trad-folk architecture of previous outings -- frontman Tony Dekker opted to avoid writing with an acoustic guitar this time around -- the collective have leaned into their more orchestral side, employing copious amounts of harp, lute, cello, flute, pipe organ, marimba, and banjo. Opener "The Talking Wind" best exemplifies this approach, administering an airy swirl of woodwinds and sumptuous harmonies that evokes a tiny benevolent dust devil wandering aimlessly through a star-studded meadowland. Follow-ups "In a Certain Light" and "Alone But Not Alone" tread more familiar pastures, coasting along on Dekker's fluid tenor and agrarian imagery, and doubling down on the warmly lit heartland folk-rock of past outings. Sometimes, when this experimental framework is applied to what otherwise would have been another typically pleasant, Sunday afternoon-ready Great Lake Swimmers outing, the results can elicit an almost narcotic level of ambiance, as is the case with the treacly, a cappella "Visions of a Different World" and the largely inert, marimba-led "Holding Nothing Back." Still, there's something to be said for tweaking the recipe a little, and The Waves, The Wake, despite remaining swathed in reverb, feels like a tiny step forward for the band. It's unequivocally a GLS production, but in setting some limitations, they've discovered some new sonic vistas, and in doing so found the middle ground between the lush, existential indie folk of Fleet Foxes and the temperate AM soft rock of America and Seals & Crofts. ~ James Christopher Monger