Great Lake Swimmers

Toronto's Great Lake Swimmers splash about in an atmospheric realm of spare but elegantly etched folk music blended with superior strains of subtle rock and pop. Combined with chief Swimmer Tony Dekker's arid, bittersweet, oddly affecting vocals murmuring enigmatic lyrics about existence as ephemeral as "a cry in the night" and lovers who drift into dreams, the mood is haunting, autumnal, and a little Erie—uh, eerie. The Swimmers' fourth album, Lost Channels, continues to probe exquisite melancholy with judicious bits of pedal steel, mandolin, and cello, but also breaks out into nicely ringing folk-rock, suggesting prime Fairport Convention on "Palmistry" and "Pulling on a Line," and even a lush, Beach Boys-like vibe on "Concrete Heart." There's not much surf to get up in the Thousand Islands region of the St. Lawrence River, where Channels was recorded, but apparently the vibrations were pretty good. Openers the Wooden Birds, the latest band from former American Analog Set leader Andrew Kenny, conjure a similarly hushed atmosphere on Magnolia, the band's debut. With an up-front bass providing prominent rhythmic textures and Kenny stringing whispery vocals along gently loping beats, the sound falls somewhere between folk and rock without being either. All ages. (Photo by Ilia Horsburgh)
Sun., Oct. 25, 7 p.m., 2009

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