Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
The first record that Olympia, Wash., band LAKE made a few years ago took on the title of the Dr. Seuss book most likely to be given to a graduating senior following the tassel-switching ceremony in the high school auditorium. "Oh, The Places We'll Go," was a smattering of lightly swooning melodies, using broke-ass toys, keyboards and guitars, giving off a sensation that this was a collection of songs that were bred from quaint missives and given out as pieces of art free of any sort of consternation or jadedness. The album was, through-and-through, nine tunes constructed from the purest snowflakes - ones that had just begun a tumble from the clouds, still thousands of free-falling feet from the ground's surface. They were the unsullied feelings of newness and some kind of awakening, tender-hearted songs that left you feeling nostalgic for early 80s television show theme songs (this is all assuming that you were experiencing those early years of childhood then) and those stowed memories of childhood when you received the biggest hugs and the brightest smiles from mom and dad because the smiles that were on your face, at the end of a running start and a leap into their thicker and stronger arms, were even brighter and gaping. The LAKE material that Eli Moore and Ashley Eriksson are showing us with their sophomore release - "Let's Build A Roof" - this time with a full five-piece band behind them and with production from the great Karl Blau, is a group that's still rooted in those salad days of stand-alone sitcom theme song writing, but has decided that there's something just as interesting on the other side of comfort. Instead of songs that are the equivalent of a good, strong, warm tea at the culmination of a long evening of supping and conversing is something slightly more spooky, slightly more abstract and unclear. There is still plenty about the songs that make them feel like the world's largest and most effective lozenge, but they are exploring the details where the devil's said to exist. It's in these various crevasses that they find the powders of black magic, the mystical spices that they were looking for to add just a little bite to songs that still feel as if they could be inserted into the nursery rhymes of children. It's just as "Ring Around the Rosie" is believed to be about the black plague - there's a happy and lovely tone to everything on "Let's Build A Roof," but there is an underlying feeling that there is more to the story and that this is not just a dash of cheeriness, lined with blooping keys, pleasant guitar sounds and Moore and Eriksson's crystalline vocals, which sound like two kittens embracing when melting together as they tend to do. The two have made a second record that is just as assessable and wonderfully hummable, but as there is never always sunshine or light, they've added some darkened corners and chosen to think the scarier things through a bit. Eriksson mentions on "Sing 99 And 90," "Death is sharper than a thorn," and there seem to be plenty of thorns descending, even as there are memories of camping out in the front yard and a general touch of squeezing a river of chocolate syrup overtop a mound of vanilla ice cream. It must just be because they trust in heaven and death going hand-in-hand, no matter what happens.
LAKE Official Site