Category: Great Lakes

Indie Friday: Great Lakes cover John Prine

September 10th, 2010 — 12:51 pm

We don’t usually drift too far into the indiepop music scene, mostly because so much of it is, at its core, less folk than otherwise. But with the recent departure of original lyricist Dan Donahue, Ways of Escape, the impending new release from NY-by-way-of-Athens band Great Lakes, represents a significant shift in their core sound – something not quite unlike what would happen if Belle and Sebastian had spent too much time listening to a bunch of old Graham Nash records, and then decided to go all-out alt-country without losing their core indiepop sound – and I think there’s something here that folk fans will truly love.

As the sole remaining founder of the band, Ben Crum has organized a well-seasoned crowd of indie players – including sidemen and -women from Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Beirut, and Ryan Adams – to great effect, creating in the process a delightful album that comes across as a diverse yet perfectly balanced slice of post-Americana, with tracks that range from the dark, freewheeling, almost psychedelic grunge rock of Summer of Woe and Ghost Brother to the country-tinged indiepop of Half Your Life Gone to the delicate balladry of Summer Fruit. Most songs sport the full-band instrumentation you’d expect of such a collaborative effort, and it’s a wonderful sound, rich and catchy as hell. But acoustic tracks like Summer Fruit and the album’s sole cover, a take on John Prine’s Sour Grapes, are also worth savoring: sparse and quietly stunning, with sweet vocal harmonies from Suzanne Nienaber delicately balanced against Crum’s mournful, slightly ragged vocals.

Ways of Escape drops October 12, which is plenty of time for the usual indie bloggers to keep the buzz going – and this album certainly deserves all the buzz it can get. So here’s that John Prine cover to whet your whistle while you wait for the full release.

Great Lakes: Sour Grapes (orig. John Prine)

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