Great Lake Swimmers
A Forest Of Arms
Nettwerk / Weewerk
A Forest of Arms is a collection of profound and musically dynamic tracks that runs deeper than meets the ear.
The stunning acoustics on this 6th studio album by Toronto folk rock darlings Great Lake Swimmers are credited to lead singer/songwriter Tony Dekker’s unique recording process; he researched and sought out uncommon locations to record the new batch of songs for a unique and authentic feel. He used the natural reverbs and acoustics in Ontario’s Tyendinaga Caverns and Caves, layering haunting vocals with a cavernous-sounding band. The album’s production has a soothing yet haunting effect from start to finish.
The first track to stand out is “Shaking All Over.” This is an upbeat and musically dynamic song driven by an amazing percussion section in a 3/4 time signature. Miranda Mulholland’s superb fiddle leads can be heard throughout this tune, which really underlines GLS’ unique brand of folk rock. The lyrics are brilliant, which is something we have come to expect from Dekker on any release. The song closes out with what sounds like a Gerry Garcia tribute guitar solo, adding more mystery and seductive flavours to the track. “Don’t Leave Me Hanging” is the best offering on this release, a delicate ballad with beautiful string orchestration and simple vocal harmonies that will stay with you and put you in a reflective trance. Its beauty is perfectly captured with the eerie and calming vocal orchestration. The fiddle tastefully intertwines with the double bass and other ambient instrumentation that leaves you breathless. “I Must Have Someone Else’s Blues” is reminiscent of the former NYC band Luna; its catchy hooks and garage vocals weave nicely with the organs that roll along the track’s 3.5-minute length. There’s a little whistling that goes along with the dying chorus, giving it a touch of modern commercial appeal. You’ll be humming this one for hours.
The band’s incredible songwriting, clever lyrics and beautiful audio production haven’t faded since earlier releases like Ongiaraand Lost Channels. A Forest of Arms is a timeless release that will stand up to any standout Canadian or cross border folk album this year.
– Andre Skinner (Twitter @andreskinner)
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: GREAT LAKE SWIMMERS – A FOREST OF ARMS