Originally a solo project for singer/songwriter/guitarist Tony Dekker, Great Lake Swimmers eventually morphed into a full-fledged band. And while the Toronto group’s lineup has changed over the course of its recording career, what has stayed the same is the commitment by Dekker and company to playing acoustic instruments.
The recently released “Easy Come Easy Go,” which can be found on the fifth Great Lake Swimmers album, Near Wild Everywhere (due April 3), follows a similar path. That ought to please NBC news anchor, music blogger and GLS fan Brian Williams, but how much appeal is there for those unfamiliar with the folk-flavored band?
Lyrics: The song opens with the chorus, which may or may not be poking fun at powerful multinational corporations but certainly has lines that are tailor-made for Occupy Wall Streeters to sing (“Easy come and easy go/That’s what they say/When they’re about to go broke/So try not to choke”). Giving the chorus (which repeats three more times) an extra boost is relative newcomer Miranda Mulholland’s harmony vocals at the end of the last line (“Put your arms around me and don’t ever let go”). The verses continue with the theme of calling out individuals whose mouths and minds fail them (“Call it chance/call it choice/Words escape/on the breath of your voice”).
Music/arrangement: Nettwerk Music Group, which handles the band’s label, is not exaggerating when it describes “Easy Come Easy Go” as “the most upbeat and up-tempo song ever penned by Dekker” (the next closest thing, at least in terms of beats per minute, might be “Palmistry” or “She Comes to Me in Dreams,” both from 2009’s Lost Channels). The strum of a bright-sounding, (probably) capoed acoustic guitar kicks things off, then one by one, the rest of the band members enter and settle into a straightforward, steady groove that doesn’t pause or waver. By and large it’s a team performance, with violinist Mulholland taking a few extended lead breaks that manage to keep things moving along without being too flashy.
Production: In the past, Great Lake Swimmers have used unconventional venues to record their albums (including an abandoned silo), but this time around, they mostly used Toronto’s Revolution Recording studio. As a result, “Easy Come Easy Go” sounds much more compact than cavernous (and is much better suited for radio airplay).
The verdict: Crank it (figuratively speaking, that is — it certainly rocks but doesn’t rawk). “Easy Come Easy Go” is an honest-to-goodness toe-tapper with solid hooks, and the instrumental earthiness only adds to its appeal.
— By Chris M. Junior