TUESDAY, MARCH 31, 2009|
For years now, Great Lake Swimmers have been writing beautifully melodic and poetic folk ballads up in their northern home of Ontario, Canada. While they have a couple of songs that may be classified as rock, rarely does their music rise beyond an aroused hush. Consistency has always been one of the band's strong suits. Since the band's inception they haven't had a misstep; each album being as good if not better than the last. This holds true for their latest album, Lost Channels, on which the band takes listeners on a relaxing boat ride through the Thousand Islands region of Canada.
Tony Dekker's voice has always been the band's selling point. On Lost Channels it is no different. On each song, Dekker's voice is as smooth as silk, making the words he sings sound just that much sweeter. Much like his past efforts, Dekker has surrounded himself was a group of very talented musicians to help him record this album. Right-hand man Erik Arnesen plays on almost every track, lending his highly skilled hands to a variety of different stringed instruments, ranging from 12 string and electric guitars, to a variety of banjos. The other two musicians present on almost every track (and who form an integral part of the band) are bassist Darcy Yates and drummer Greg Millson.
Lost Channels flows much like the seascapes of the Thousand Islands that surrounded the band in the creation of the album. There are moments of complete serenity, as on "River's Edge", the only track on the album that Dekker recorded all on his own. Here, as the title suggests, Dekker manages to poetically describe the life of a river's edge, using his talent to make the mundane sound extraordinary. On "Unison Falling Into Harmony", Dekker displays his talent for writing evocative lyrics, singing "I will try to know you, though you defy my grasp/ Your beauty is static, but steady and fast". And as the sea can be at times as well, Lost Channels also has songs that are a little bit tumultuous. Yet much like the sea - even at its' angriest - it is still quite a thing of beauty. On "Pulling on a Line" and "She Comes to me in Dreams" the tempo is quickened, the drums pound harder and we can even hear some electric guitar at times. But even though these songs are a bit rockier than the rest of the album, they still rank among the best songs Dekker has written, on an album that may go down as Great Lake Swimmers' most promising work to date.