Great Lake Swimmers
Lost Channels


4.0
excellent

Review

by Caleb McAlpine USER (108 Reviews)
March 29th, 2010 | 22 replies | 6,550 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: pocket full of earth, ziploc bag of coffee grounds

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Toronto folk quintet Great Lake Swimmers, somehow, sound genuinely authentic - organic, if you will. They don’t sound Torontonian at all, mind you, they sound like they belong in a barn outside of a Saskatoon berry farm; finishing their days work picking fruit to write music and reside in their bovine-friendly habitat. To overexert the seedy metaphor, Great Lake Swimmers sound like they’ve been grown directly out of the prairie soil; rich in texture and so ecologically fresh sounding that they can only be described in silly farm metaphors. But, no. Great Lake Swimmers are from Toronto - which, at the very least, explains why the great lakes have anything to do with them and why vocalist Tony Dekker can sing about “the world’s tallest self supporting tower, or maybe number two” without sounding like he’s deliberately been studying Wikipedia’s page on Canadian Structures. It just turns out that the best folk album of 2009 came from one of North America’s most expansive centres of urbanity. Perspective is a peculiar thing.

Opener ‘Palmistry’ is an early indicator of the band’s charm. Combining a fairly typical folk rock formula with Dekker’s impeccable memories, ‘Palmistry’ introduces Great Lake Swimmers at their most energetic (“energetic” being an ironic term in this case). Dekker’s americana (canadiana?) voice is well worn and classy, sounding experienced and broken at the same time through his raspy tones. ‘Pulling on the Line’ is a fairly repetitive offering on Lost Channels, but in its catchiness, it also manages to be the strongest track on the album. Acoustic guitars, mandolins and tambourines accompany Dekker’s subtly layered vocals in the verses before the whole band shifts into halftime for the deliberately repetitive hook: “I’m just pulling on the line, on the line and sometimes it pulls on me.” Lyrically, Lost Channels is relatively standard and benign, but the sincerity of Dekker’s performance gives the words much more significance. In the appropriately subdued ‘Concrete Heart’, Dekker sings about the safety of home (“This was the centre of the world for me once, where I saw ‘I love you’ all over the place”), sounding wrenchingly homesick while throwing in a few bitter Canadian in-jokes into the minimalist lyrics along the way. It’s this duality that makes Lost Channels sound so “organic” - the earnest combination of charm and sincerity. The instrumentation and composition is sonically sound, the presentation is genuine, and the whole listen is a comforting folk excursion that lives up to its great lake namesake. Back to picking berries, boys. Or whatever it was that you did in that silly Ontarian city of yours.



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user ratings (31)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Waior
March 29th 2010



11425 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

i wrote this a few months ago and didn't realize i hadn't posted it

urMusicShan
March 29th 2010



1 Comments


Congratulations on Juno nominations Great Lake Singers! Also Tegan & Sarah. Heads up! urMusic is giving away tix to the show, plus airfare (to Newfoundland!) for 2 and more. Get more info at FB urMusic.

Keep the music live!
urMusic Shan


Waior
March 29th 2010



11425 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Great Lake Singers!


hahah

PuddlesPuddles
March 29th 2010



4763 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweeeeet

YouAreMySilence
March 29th 2010



3727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Finally! Great review, fantastic album.

They're playing at the Junos so maybe this year Ill acually sit through the faggotry.

SeaAnemone
March 29th 2010



19682 Comments


who's been troll negging Waior I demand an explanation!

Digging: Towers - Bel Air Highrise Plantation

YouAreMySilence
March 29th 2010



3727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Its me.. jokes.
Eric, listen to this!

SeaAnemone
March 29th 2010



19682 Comments


this is the only GLS I haven't heard.. everything else feels like a solid 3.5... good stuff.

Brokenjewel
March 29th 2010



1247 Comments


Never even heard of these guys. Nice album - cool review.

YouAreMySilence
March 29th 2010



3727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oh really? Well yeah this is pretty essential. Their best work fo sho.

lobby
March 29th 2010



1251 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

pretty awesome album

cinaedus
March 29th 2010



26297 Comments


hey look its the band from which i took my username! not really haha. i should check it out though i take it

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

Waior
March 29th 2010



11425 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

thanks for the feedback, todos!

@brandon; saw this in my review folder unpublished and thought that I'd been breaking my promise to you long enough!

YouAreMySilence
March 29th 2010



3727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Maybe we can be friends again then, Ill stop making fun of you behind your back to dougie..

Waior
March 29th 2010



11425 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

well it's not behind my back anymore, is it!

i'll consider it.

YouAreMySilence
March 29th 2010



3727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Dammit.. but how can you reject this face? *makes cute face*

tombits
April 3rd 2010



3469 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great band, great album, great review, great reviewer, buttsex now?

DeafMetal
April 8th 2010



8584 Comments


Really good album. The vocals are haunting in a way.

cwmetalguy1986
August 13th 2010



185 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This band is truly amazing...Great workmanship...terrific vocals, and I agree, they are haunting in a way...melodic and beauty but a little ghostly...love it

Palmistry is my fav

starry
October 30th 2010



552 Comments


Good album. This Canadian group beat some American americana groups like The National in every way, better melody, more creativity through an album. The only weak point is probably the last track.



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