The Great Lake Swimmers
' blend of catchy, rural indie pop and brooding north country folk with Low
-inspired tempos is like a shot of non-adrenaline. The Toronto outfit's third full-length album, Ongiara
, breaks little ground for the Canadian pine-gazers, but somewhere between bandleader Tony Dekker
's sonorous tenor and cavernous banjo there is a sweet spot that, when engaged, like on the lovely "Backstage with the Modern Dancers," "Catcher Son," and "I Became Awake," could melt the thin ice of Lake Ontario's shoreline in January. Like fellow sepia-toned Chicago collective the Pinetop Seven
have a gift for melody and atmosphere that is nearly hypnotic, but where the Pinetop
gang often shifts the dynamic and runs screaming into the forest, the Swimmers
just kind of tread water, resulting in an audio experience that can just as easily infect the listener with drooping eyelids as it can repeated bouts of cathartic Sunday morning contemplation.