Thursday, July 13, 2006

Great Lakes...

It took me a little while to come around to the charms of Great Lakes forthcoming release Diamond Times. The first time I put it on all I could think about was how much I miss Beulah. Let's just say there's a bit of a family resemblance. Like Beulah Great Lakes were part of the Elephant 6 collective responsible for Elf Power, Olivia Tremor Control, Neutral Milk Hotel and a host of other semi-psych bands noted for their extended memberships and wide array of instrumentation. For Diamond Times Great Lakes has moved over to Empryean Records. What finally got me over my "you sound just like Beulah" block was the moment that I realized that they sounded just like Beulah's best moments. That can only be a good thing. And they really do have their own personality, it just takes a few listens for it to really come out. Great Lakes liberal use of the pedal steel and horns (particularly the horn that Kenny G plays, whatever that's called) are particularly identifiable. If pushed for a more accurate description I'd say that Great Lakes are actually denser than Beulah. I know it seems near impossible but there's really a density to the instrumentation that makes the record particularly enjoyable on headphones. I'm talking layers, man, layers. The two main songwriters in Great Lakes, Dan Donahue and Ben Crum, are obviously capable of writing a variety of song styles as it suits them. But what they do best is craft songs that comfortably straddle multiple genres while developing a unique personality. Diamond Times happily goes from country to country-politan to pop to rock to deformed big band. I guess that just means that indeed Great Lakes are very Elephant 6.

1 song from Diamond Times:



Post a Comment

<< Home