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CD Review: The Great Lakes Myth Society – Self-Titled

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The Great Lakes Myth Society
The Great Lakes Myth Society
2005, Stop, Pop, & Roll

The Great Lakes Myth Society knows how to start an album well: “The Salt Trucks” starts as a heartfelt acoustic piece but segues into a slightly dark electric piece with nary a snag along the way. Throw in excellent harmonizations and vocals, and The Great Lakes Myth Society begins to take shape.

The Great Lakes Myth Society is the eponymous debut of the Michigan-based group (their hometown, Ann Arbor, is at the foot of Lake Erie, which explains for the name. It also, to an extent, can explain for their sound — there is regional influence, particularly in a more traditional setting, present across the album; a vague “down-home” feel to tracks is allowed, including banjos, accordians, and strings on such tracks as “Across the Bridge” and “Love Story.”

If there is one attribute that stands out in The Great Lakes Myth Society, it’s their ability to write engaging, eclectic music. “Buffalo Nickel” is an outstanding example of such; with thunder and siren samples topping the already atmospheric piece, the guitars begin to feel torrential and the cymbal crashes increasingly rain-like. This is easily contrasted with the strangely upbeat “Marquette County, 1959,” a piece heavy in piano and lyrics of some sort of strange historical significance (“The northern lights were shining / when Jimmy Stewart came to Marquette County in 1959″).

“The Northern Light Over Atlanta, MI” is another prime example of The Great Lake Myth Society’s uncanny ability to blend unexpected elements — funky guitars and orchestral strings blended with bells are, by no stretch of the imagination, a normal combination of instruments, but with this band, one can almost come to expect something with such flare.

After fifteen (excellent) tracks, it is clear that The Great Lakes Myth Society have debuted with an album befitting a much more experienced band — The Great Lakes Myth Society is a tightly composed album; the band’s use of non-standard instrumentation and clear musical intent denotes an amicable relationship within the group. If a first release is any indicator, The Great Lakes Myth Society is, undoubtedly, onto something with their music.

Matthew Montgomery
musicGeek.org

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  • yclipse

    Ann Arbor is not “at the foot of Lake Erie”. Whatever that is supposed to mean.

    Jimmy Stewart came to Marquette County in 1959 for the filming of “Anatomy of a Murder”, directed by Otto Preminger, and based on a homicide that took place there.