I was going to start this review with a clever and witty rundown of other great bands that have “lake” in their names, Midlake, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, etc. There is also apparently a band just named “Lake,” which I would have had to listen a little to if I were going to write that review.
But I’m not, because this album is too good to dally over, because it’s so good, jaw droppingly good, not a false note in the bunch kind of good. It hasn’t been since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot that I have heard an album which from soup to nuts has been so enjoyable, so rich, so deep and so toe-tapping (hate that phrase, but descriptively, it’s what I was doing during many of the songs). Record of the year stuff. Even the last song, sung haltingly in French, seems somehow perfect in all of its flawed glory. Each listen to the album discloses something new, something you hadn’t noticed before. They even make cliches like “easy come, easy go” sound like they invented them.
I could start anywhere on the album with a stand-out track, but I might as well start with the title track, “New Wild Everywhere,” which is a nature-loving song if there ever was one, capturing perfectly the idea of seeing nature as simply bursting out of itself: where a glimpse of the mountains and of the brightness of a sunset seems almost overwhelming. The sun seems “overexposed,” the sky “explodes.”
“New Wild Everywhere” is followed, fittingly, by “The Great Exhale,” which slows things down a bit, but doesn’t flag in intensity. It is the expiration after the inspiration of “New Wild Everywhere,” where the world leaves us spinning, and will only “stop spinning when we stop spinning.” There’s something really deep, even philosophical, going on in this album. Or maybe not. Whatever. Anything that gives me an excuse to listen to it again.
Great Lake Swimmers has made an achingly beautiful album in New Wild Everywhere. I’m not sure they knew, based on their previous albums, that they could make something this great, this perfect. I kind of hope they surprised themselves in how they transcended their previous efforts, which were solid, but didn’t hint at the greatness that was coming.
It may make me go back and relisten to their early albums. But I don’t think I’m done with one just yet.