B-de, b-de, b-de, that’s all folks!
Our working holiday with the SunRype Tri-Kids is all over and we’re all heading home and not a minute too soon either. I want my own bed, my EZ-boy, my cats and the rest of the Tour de France to watch on the boob tube. Of course, there’s still time for one final farewell to Calgary by crop-dusting another epic fart through Terminal A of the Calgary International Airport just as I did exactly one year ago today. Sorry, Calgary. But tradition is tradition. The first of my listening pleasures for this leg of the journey is the ‘Lost Channels‘ album by the Great Lake Swimmers.
This 2009 album by the little big band from Wainfleet, Ontario was actually my introduction to the band years ago. It was likely their big break through album and I’ve since become a big fan and have seen them numerous times here locally at The Sanctuary here in town.
This album employs a larger, more band-oriented sound that lovingly elevates (and amplifies) Tony Dekker‘s simple, refined melodies into something both peaceful and majestic. Recorded in castles, churches, and community centers in and around the Saint Lawrence River’s Thousand Islands, which straddle the U.S.-Canada border, the album is filled with sepia-tone postcard images of dusty boots following the treads on seasonal roads, and pastoral woodcuts of stoic, blue-collar heartache and wide-eyed innocence.
There’s a breathtaking richness to ‘Lost Channels’, as the Swimmers conjure an abstract, contemporary landscape split between pained defeat and overt optimism. From the old-school country-folk of ‘The Chorus in the Underground‘ and ‘Unison Falling into Harmony‘ to the straight-up indie folk-rock of ‘Pulling on a Line‘, ‘She Comes to Me in Dreams‘ (which hints at the sunnier aspects of The Cure) and ‘Palmistry‘ – the latter, as beautiful as it is owes more than just an instrumentation nod to R.E.M.‘s ‘Losing My Religion‘ – Great Lake Swimmers have proven once again that Canada, as rich as it is in arty indie rock like Plants & Animals, is also the country that gave the world Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, and Joni Mitchell.