There is little mistaking the music of Toronto’s Great Lake Swimmers; be it vocalist Tony Dekker’s delicate emotionally telling voice, or the atmospheric folk soundscapes that defy easy comparison and stand in a league of their own. Fans won’t be disappointed with the band’s fourth album, Lost Channels, which continues their tradition of offering softly flowing songs rendered in a stark, almost claustrophobic beauty.
Known for choosing unique historic locations in which to craft their albums, such as abandoned grain silos and old churches, the group has once again traversed new territory—this time around recording in various locations throughout the 1,000 Islands area of the St. Lawrence River; providing a geographically rich tapestry that is fragile, mysterious and ultimately effective in its execution, both in the haunting vocals, as well as the warm musicianship enveloping them.
Take for example the upbeat yet melancholy opening track, “Palmistry.” When Dekker delivers verses like, “You see by the lines on my hands / I’ve been carrying a heavy load / You follow them across my palms / Where they run like roads,” his voice sounds as if it’s ready to crumble and you can’t help but feel the transference of where he was at emotionally when he wrote these words. Ripe with imagery and powerful in theme, Lost Channels is hopeful and heartbreaking, confident but unsure, but ultimately, well rounded and lovely as always.