Great Lakes’ newest album Wild Vision is the soundtrack of wanderlust and coming of age. The album sounds like it should run throughout the background of a Michael Cera movie where he takes a long road trip to nowhere while having conversations that pretend to be deep but are actually meaningless. The cover even has a southwestern motif with a burnt orange colored sunset across a flat and generic landscape. I don’t mean this as a bad thing but more as a descriptor.
Wild Vision is mid tempo take on the indie rock of the past ten years. This vibe is solidified quickly in the album when lead singer Ben Crum sings, “We’re not really free. We’re just drifting,” in the lead off track, “Swim the River.” The album continues with a dark set of somber tunes. At times, the band is quietly pushing the country envelope which creates an Americana vibe. This is due to superb slide guitar work in tracks like “Wild Again.” Great Lakes shines brightest in the stripped down moments that are sprinkled throughout the album. The moments with steady snare drum and acoustic guitar. These are the moments that come off as authentic. “Blood on My Tooth” is the standout track on the album. The song has an ominous southern gothic feel with its mild threatening lyrics, “You shouldn’t have lied to me, and then asked me for the truth.” It’s the kind of track I like when I hear it played as the opening to an HBO drama but would hesitate to admit to the room.
The first time I listened to the album, it didn’t wash over me correctly. I put it away and left it on the shelf for a week or so. The second and third time I listened to the album, the more I liked it. It has an early My Morning Jacket or A.M. era Wilco feel. Great Lakes never catches fire like My Morning Jacket or Wilco, but they are striking the flint hard and sparks are flying. If the band can catch fire, Wild Vision will be looked at as an album that offered promise.
You can pick up Wild Vision on vinyl at your local record store or from https://greatlakesbencrum.bandcamp.com/album/wild-vision.