Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
Lake is a complete mind warp just waiting to happen, though there's no waiting. The waiting has been eliminated. It's just warped up, bent up realizations, ironed and crisp morals and before your spearmint gum's even started to lose its flavor, the band from Olympia, Washington has become a part of you. You've been baptized by all of their wholesomeness, even when you thought all along that you were full of atheist thoughts and tendencies through and through.
The band - which here in Rock Island on this day consisted of Half-Handed Cloud's John Ringhofer and core members Eli Moore and Ashley Eriksson - scoops you up into its arms and just wraps you with down blankets and humanity. If you've ever wondered what it was like to actually perch yourself on the top branch of a tree on the nicest day on record or be able to park a lawn chair at the bottom of a cool and refreshing, clean and blue creek and just be able to relax it all out until the day was over, this is the band to shed some light on those fantasies. It is a body of water that you can always see the bottom of. It's as shy as a dormouse and as sure of what it's doing as any other out there.
Lake's newest album - Oh, The Places We'll Go, set to be re-released on K Records - is a message in calm self-confidence and glassy purity. There are no imperfections in its cut or clarity, just a collection of songs for strolling and whistling with. It's not necessarily whistling along to, just whistling, spontaneous watching of your feet as they move, watching your legs work, feeling your arms hang free, loving the light sunshine falling on your face and just moving along to whatever moves you. For Moore and Eriksson, what moves them is fairly obvious and the same goes for their buddy Ringhofer, who for years has made incredibly catchy albums of Brian Wilson noodlings that have been the hangers for overt, yet sneaky mentions of shining religious faith. There's nothing so much hidden about the Word, but it's not a big splattering of substance and scripture interpretation either. It's pleasant and that's how one can just float away on it, believing the same things or not believing them because it's not the most important part of the moment to do so.
Lake seems to just want you to be taken - back toward the era when Burt Reynolds' and Tom Selleck's mustaches were considered to be two of the biggest sexual turn-ons for the ladies - and left to just splash around in the puddles. I can't help but think that they both still have tree houses that they enjoy playing in. The harmonics and the even-flowing styles of Moore and Eriksson's singing voices are spell-binding in their aloofness. They are almost terrifyingly calm and soothing and that's essentially why you cannot pull yourself away from them. You overindulge, just stuffing yourself with them, more and more and more, listening intently and just hanging on the breeze that they windmill in.
They sing, "Kingdom come/Get er done" and Larry the Cable Guy doesn't really seem like the right cultural figure to pop into the frame, but perhaps the unintended slip of phrasing is applicable to the feeling of a mind warping and carrying us away with the songs. It's such a blind phrase now, with a connotation that it's a simple way to suggest common people doing their common things whether they're right for or accepted by everyone else or not. Getting er done with kingdom come is just like pulling socks on or bringing in the mail for Moore and Eriksson. It's effortless and second nature, just like it's second nature for Larry the Cable Guy to never think twice about portraying himself as oafish and lazy and buying beef jerky and chew tobacco every time he enters a gas station convenience store. Lake gives you a lemon and a lime to what ills you - the small aches and pains, or the bigger ones - but never, ever prods or pushes. They'll just make you feel like it's all optional and easy 80s like the theme song from WKRP In Cincinnati, offering up alternative halos like blown kisses and butterflies.
Lake Official Site