Great Lake Swimmers “New Wild Everywhere”
GLS songs have always felt like dust motes hanging in a beam of sunlight; hazy, lazy, warm and hypnotic. Relocating themselves to the studio proper rather than recording in ambient spaces like churches and adding new members (most interestingly Miranda Mullholland on violin and backing vocals) has done little to change the atmosphere or impact of the songs.
They do sound less singular though, but as this is still filtered through Tony Dekker the change is subtle; nothing radical, just a clarification. The tone is warmer, more rounded and more playful, the giggle of banjo and the tickle of violin on ‘Ballad of a Fisherman’s Wife’ coax a lighter side from Dekker.
The warmer waters are evident on the lovely ‘Cornflower Blue’ that has Dekker’s laconic vocal, a banjo hook and backing vocals from Mullholland; the whole song is one graceful swoon. They haven’t abandoned the subdued, ‘Quiet Your Mind’ is like a dark pool, the surface may barely ripple but you know all the same that the depths are dark and dangerous. The perfect mortar between earlier records and this one is ‘Think That You Might Be Wrong’ it largely eschews the broader palette but crucially makes use of Mullholland’s vocals and violin. The middle eight features a typically restrained guitar solo before giving way to the strings.
The dust motes dance as plucked strings launch benevolent shockwaves, so begins ‘The Knife’ a song that if deconstructed would give no clue as to why it sounds satisfying. The song transitions from one phase to another as easily as afternoon passes to evening, staccato plucks stand in for the middle eight, the songs is crafted into a whole with each element supporting the other (see no illumination there). That’s always been Dekker’s skill and here working with a more detailed brush he succeeds in broadening his range without compromising his vision.