LAKE – Let’s Build a Roof

January 01, 1970




You get a lot of indie-rock records that sound melancholy or
even morose, but you get few that are delicate without being sad, that sound
like you can both dance (or at least vigorously sway) and dream to it.  Maybe simultaneously and, yes, maybe with a
touch of regret that such a state can’t be a permanent condition. Let’s Build a Roof, the second K album
by the Northwest indie-pop sextet LAKE, has that sound – quiet, almost a little
chorale-like in its male-female unison vocals and restrained leads, but with a
rhythmic, breezy drive. It’s reminiscent of poppier late-1960s sunshine pop
(like Harper’s Bizarre) or some of Christine McVie’s more elegantly constructed
Fleetwood Mac hits. You can almost hear the Mac singing a medley of “Don’t
Stop” and LAKE’s “Don’t Give Up.” But LAKE also differs – it’s not a revivalist band, although
it started as a Mac cover band. The production by Karl Blau provides a
distancing effect, a muted quality mixing synths and “natural” instruments like
marimbas, that’s quirky enough to be mysterious and now and then inserts dark
shadows into the sunny soundscape. The opening song, “Breathing,” has some
ever-so-lightly atonal, echoey guitar notes to set a spooky mood, and the male
solo vocal cracks slightly, just enough to hint at something perplexing. It’s a
bit of Joy Division intruding on the joy. The bleating-horn sound on “Gravel,”
a bit out of time with the rhythm, is another hint of the underlying
discordance beneath the band’s smooth, groovy sound. The songwriting, too, by
Eli Moore and Ashley Eriksson, reveals depth – “Gravel” turns out to be a song
about fear. But the album hits patches where it becomes too lulling, causing a
listener to tune out rather than perk up and listen. This is always a drawback
when restrained singing is spread over a full album, and LAKE
hasn’t resolved it. But the melodies are strong enough to keeping bringing you
back when you drift away.


Standout Tracks: “Madagascar,”



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