Ongiara by Great Lake Swimmers (Review) ~ BitterSweetLife

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ongiara by Great Lake Swimmers (Review)

I'm not a "music reviewer" because then I'd have to acquaint myself with scores of esoteric garage bands (I only know about a dozen) and make frequent references to them in my posts.

I don't have time for that, so I have to satisfy myself with being a dude who writes about music he listens to--and honestly, I don't mind. My most recent discover is Great Lake Swimmers, specifically the Ongiara (2007) album. I picked it up on the strength of a free live recording EP, and it's been getting a lot of play over the last 48 hours.

In case you're wondering: The title Ongiara was the name of the boat that ferried the band to Toronto Island, where they recorded the initial demo. "Ongiara" is also the original name for Niagara Falls; the name is said to have originated from the Iroquois word Onguiaahra and the local tribe of Iroquois inhabitants known as the Ongiaras. - Wikipedia

What do Great Lake Swimmers sound like? Think hushed vocals, slowly building melodies, and a clean, folk sound with plenty of banjo and other deft acoustic flourishes. Initially, I said that Great Lake Swimmers sounded "kind of like Arcade Fire meets Innocence Mission with peacenik lyrics."

In order to make that description less ridiculous, I'd now place the group, loosely, in the same genre as Iron and Wine, Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver, and--Lindsay says--Don Chaffer (slightly esoteric local reference, sorry). My appreciation for the Swimmers' quietly poetic lyrics has grown with the full length album.

By way of other endorsements, I should mention that Aidan has added Great Lake Swimmers' Ongiara to his list of approved nighttime music, along with Innocence Mission, Ben Folds, and Campfire Songs by Veggie Tales. His comment: "I hate sleep, but the soulful strumming of Great Lake Swimmers makes it bearable. Almost."

Like what you read? Don't forget to bookmark this post or subscribe to the feed.



Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife