Lunch with Great Lake Swimmers!
Free In-Store Performance + Signing
Friday November 9th, 2018 12:00 PM
2018 marks the 15th anniversary of Great Lake Swimmers. Over seven albums, multiple EPs, live broadcasts, and reissues, the Toronto-based project led by singer-songwriter Tony Dekker has established itself as a beloved indie folk act in their native Canada and beyond. The CBC has called them “a national treasure” while their music has taken them around the world, sharing a sound that is at once familiar and distinct, using the tools of folk music as the starting point to delve deeper.
It’s this contrast and evolution that brings them to their latest release, The Waves, The Wake – a metaphor for the future ahead, and the past trailing behind.
Great Lake Swimmers have twice been nominated for Juno Awards, have been shortlisted for the prestigious Polaris Prize, and won a Canadian Indie Award for Favourite Folk/Roots Artist/Group. They have shared the stage as support for such musical luminaries as Robert Plant, Feist, and Calexico, and have appeared as headliners for many of Canada’s major Folk Music festivals. Their relentless touring schedule and countless live shows have helped them develop devoted fan bases across Canada, the US, Europe, the UK and many points beyond. Mojo dubbed them “Ambient Zen Americana” and Exclaim has described them as a “cherished blend of folk and orchestral indie pop.”
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.