Great Lake Swimmers – Lost Channels

March 26, 2009

lostchannelsThe fourth album from Toronto based band Great Lake Swimmers is almost evenly split between ethereal folk ballads and spirited folk rockers, though it’s the former set of songs that dominated my first impression of the album. For a few days, I thought of Lost Channels as an entire cycle of songs along the lines of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair/Canticle.” This isn’t actually the case, as one of the folk rockers, “Palmistry,” is the opener, and the other rockers are spread fairly evenly and effectively throughout the rest of the record. The strongest material on the album are the slower numbers, however, and they are for the most part gorgeously rendered, with echoes of Neil Young, Nick Drake as well as the aforementioned duo. I don’t know where I’d rank it amongst their previous work, but suffice to say that whereas Lost Channels was an album that took some getting into to fully appreciate, the effort was very much worth it. Standout cuts: “Palmistry,” “Pulling On A Line,” “Concrete Heart” and “Still.”

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