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Great Lake Swimmers Lost Channels Review

Album. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

Amidst such up-tempo sunshine there's moments of an altogether darker splendour.

Sid Smith 2009

Recording tunes in grain silos, venerable acoustic sweet spots and the wonderfully named Singer Castle on the equally evocatively titled Dark Island beside the St. Lawrence River isn’t just a dippy gimmick with this Canadian outfit.

Part of the Great Lake Swimmer albums immediacy and impact comes from their ability to choose and inhabit a space with only the most minimal technological intervention.

Filled with a spellbinding mix of country-tinged melancholy and a poetic economy that resists saccharin statements, or maudlin indulgence, the ghostly voice of lead Swimmer, Tony Dekker crosses vast oceans of loneliness and undercurrents of heartache to impressive effect.

Lost Channels has a more robust feel to it than their last album, Ongaria. The heavy down-strum of Pulling On A Line or the driving pop of She Comes To Me In Dream has a quirky staying power that really gets under the skin. The more populist mandolin-heavy lilt of opener, Palmistry, is surely a contender for an anthemic-style Losing My Religion for a new generation.

Amidst such up-tempo sunshine there's moments of an altogether darker splendour. Stealing Tomorrow’s gossamer-thin wisps of pedal-steel guitar or the cello-burnished lines on New Light underscore Dekker's poignant, compelling insights.

It's to be hoped that with the current appetite for consuming folk rock as the new rock 'n' roll, that more people are going to start picking up on the quiet beauty contained in each and every one of the Great Lake Swimmers' albums.

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