When Tony Dekker debuted Great Lake Swimmers six years ago, comparisons to the exquisite chamber Folk of Nick Drake, Elliott Smith and Neil Young seemed inevitable. Dekkar channeled the expansive desolation of his soul into his eponymous GLS album by way of his whispery vocals, sparse accompaniment and unique studio environment (an abandoned and cavernous grain silo), resulting in a powerfully moving and gloriously melancholy work.
With a more typical band structure and a healthy dose of reverb on 2005’s Bodies and Minds, Dekker ventured into My Morning Jacket territory while retaining all of the Drake/Smith mope Folk appeal of his debut. For 2007’s Ongiara, Dekker combined the natural vibe of GLS’s debut with the fuller arrangement of Bodies and Minds, crafting yet another compelling and haunting addition to his impressive canon.
The latest Great Lake Swimmers release, the just released Lost Channels, features a quality that has been largely absent from Dekker’s sonic repertoire to date: optimism. Although there are still any number of throat-catching moments on Lost Channels, Dekker and his latest iteration of Great Lake Swimmers weave plenty of brighter colors into their sonic tapestry to create an album that actively balances despair with hope and darkness with light.
Still sporting an underlying streak of bleak that could sober up a gin-drunk hebephrenic, GLS play the Southgate House with Kate Maki. Get more Sound Advice here.