Great Lake Swimmers | New Wild Everywhere

Nettwerk Records (2012)
By RYAN REED  |  March 28, 2012
2.0 2.0 Stars

On their fifth full-length, veteran Toronto quintet Great Lake Swimmers specialize in breezy, monochromatic Sunday-school folk. The band's rough, often soulful, edges have been smoothed over by bone-dry production, and the songs themselves are consistently sleepy, even when they attempt to kick up dust. Sometimes their low-key charm works to their advantage, as on the lovely "Cornflower Blue," which pits wheezing accordion and melodic banjo against the atmospheric harmonies of violinist Miranda Mulholland and head Swimmer Tony Dekker. Even better is opener "Think That You Might Be Wrong," a sizzling chamber-country waltz built on fingerpicked electric guitar and nervous violin lines that hover like disillusioned angels. There's no denying that Great Lake Swimmers know how to write a quality back-porch Americana jam, but throughout they sound so firmly entrenched in their comfort zone that very few tracks make any substantial impact. Taken in bits and pieces, it's often mesmerizing — but digested in one 54-minute lump, songs eventually bleed together into one delicate, rootsy swirl. "Easy come, easy go," goes one chorus, Dekker's slightly smoky tenor perched above a blank two-chord strum. It's a telling lyric — on New Wild Everywhere, Great Lake Swimmers' sugar-sweet ditties easily drift in one ear and, unfortunately, out the other.
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