Great Lake Swimmers

Record review

SXSW Records

Great Lake Swimmers

Bodies and Minds (Misra)

Desolation is beautiful. It's the fuel of songwriters, a simple truth. Tony Dekker's Great Lake Swimmers likewise spin tales of dry breeze and whispering trees. The Toronto quartet displaces sounds of the American Plains to the True North with Bodies and Minds. Released just months after last year's eponymous debut, it echoes Dekker's soothing vocals with a second chapter of heartbreak and hope, and opener "Song for the Angels" sets the lo-fi stage with lap steel and simple strumming. Continuing the trend of unique studio tracking, Bodies was put to tape in an old, abandoned grain silo, and the sounds of the wind outside, the smells of the dusty earth, translate onto the disc. Dekker's cautious optimism ("Let's Trade Skins," "I Saw You in the Wild") reveals a man intent on reflection with fingers crossed. The banjo waltz of "Various Stages" is the Mr. Jekyll of our Dr. Hyde: a glorious scolding and realistic outlook for an exhausted relationship. "Fur and feathers, leather and scales. They'll tear you apart if they get the chance," warns the choir on "Falling Into the Sky," and that's ultimately Dekker's m.o.: warning and introspection. Which perhaps breeds GLS' chilling desolation. (Friday, March 17, 9pm @ Maggie Mae's)

***.5

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