Some groups sound so damn polite, like they would take you in if you showed up on their doorstep shivering in the freezing rain and give you some dry clothes, a seat by the fire and a warm drink. Lake are one such group. Some of their songs sound downright churchly. The Free Design always gave me the same impression, dealing in lush, bucolic pop paintings that could only offend if you find politeness offensive.
On their new album Forever or Never they leave the Olympia, K Records stable for the pastures of Hamburg, Germany’s Tapete records. The band are still based around the Puget Sound, now calling Whidbey Island their home. Label change aside, the band continue down their garden path into summer’s cauldron with everything in full bloom. Songs like Christian Comedians with its lush string parts takes some cues from Seeds of Love era Tears for Fears and XTC‘s Skylarking. You can almost see the pollen floating in the air. Other tracks hint at light 70’s funk akin to Hall and Oats, while many are fine with just being their unique brand of childlike wonder juxtaposed with smooth rock vibes.
Lake sound like real pros dealing in stealthy psychedelia. Everything is proper, fully enunciated and always polite. Come in out of the rain and warm up to Forever or Never.
You may remember (I hope you do) the danish band the Elephants who put out a very fine debut album back in December of 2007. Yeah, I know that’s a while ago in the music blog time continuum, but in the real world it’s not all that long ago. The Danish band are back with album number two. It’s called Take It! named probably for some back handed comment on how you don’t buy music these days, you take it. Well, as far as I can tell their new album has yet to leak, so you’ll have to suck it up and plunk down a few hard earned dollars and actually buy it. Why would you want to actually buy the new Elephants album you ask? Well, if you liked the last one, it’s a no-brainer, or if you’re a sucker for a sweet Scandinavian pop songs you may be at risk. The only song that really sounds like it could have been on their first album is the title track. The rest of it is more mature and confident with the band slowing things down and injecting some space into their songs, inviting you to turn up the volume to hear everything they’re piping through your tiny headphones. I compared them to Moose and Peter Bjorn and John back in 2007 and those seem to still be pretty good points of reference. Last time around the album was pretty difficult to find, only getting released in Germany. This time around there’s a US release on 15 September, in the meantime here’s an mp3. Go ahead, take it!