An interesting backstory: Lake are an experimental-pop ensemble, centered around the songwriting partnership of wife and husband duo Ashley Eriksson and Elijah Moore. The two met and formed Lake in Olympia, Washington, in 2005. Since Eriksson and Moore decamped from Olympia to the woods of Whidbey Island, they have burrowed deeper into this lifestyle, concentrating on their songwriting and art, enabled in part by musical contributions for Adventure Time (Cartoon Network).
When Lake celebrated their ten-year anniversary, they did so in an unorthodox fashion – performing every song from their catalogue – over ninety songs in a ten-hour plus set…! Now more than ten years on, Lake have released Forever or Never, their eighth album, which bookends the first decade of the group’s take on the 1970s rock and pop idiom and blends it seamlessly with a modern pop feel.
Forever or Never is one of those collections of humanistic songs that explore the complications of moral and spiritual being in a hostile world, and it can be agreed that right now, the world’s axis is tilted in a very off-kilter manner. Nevertheless, the soothing nature of these songs is there as an emollient to help, by virtue of the melody, texture and warmth. The opener, “Turn Around” is one of those instant moments that will lift you up; every element to the track is just right – the keyboard touches, the gentle guitar strokes, the steady but controlled tempo, the lyrics and the calming vocals. “Work With What You Got” reminds me a lot of the Europop-groove I used to listen to at the beginning of the ’00’s; upbeat, danceable and a message worth absorbing; “Gone Against The Wind” is more dramatic – in an early ’80’s style; darkly cinematic with drums that crash against a sombre, yet delicate keyboard and “Over/Under” has a delicious, late ’70’s Fender Rhodes-driven rainy day ambience about it.
These twelve songs have an atmosphere that equals up to, as I said, texture and warmth. Lake have given us an album, as the spring ripens, that fits the changing of the seasons. As the flowers and trees start to bloom, so too do these songs. So listen to Forever Or Never and see if you don’t agree with that assessment.
Forever Or Never is currently available