Great Lakes at Dagger

Records by the Great Lakes have been a bit sporadic, 5 in the last 16 years but it’s ok as I know one will appears sooner or later. The “band” is basically the work of one Ben Crum though for each record he gets a ton of friends to add their magic. Early on, when he was based in Athens, GA he was loosely a part of the Elephant 6 collective (Olivia Tremor Control, Neutral Milk Hotel, Apples in Stereo, etc.) and even had a record out on the Kindercore label (wayyy back in the day). Crum moved to Brooklyn, NY about a decade ago and , as stated somewhere previously, his music “made a darker turn” (from his early poppy records…these days themes seem to be about birds and nature). I wondered how he could top his previous record, 2010’s Ways of Escape, definitely my favorite by him. Not sure if Wild Vision has topped it but it’s at least as goodwithsharp songwriting and all kinds of wild playing. He enlisted the help of friends Kevin Shea on drums, David Lerner on bass, Phillip Sterk on pedal steel and man about town Joe McGinty on keyboards (he’s played with everyone) plus some backup vocalist (Crum handles guitar and the main vocals) and it’s wild ride. Crum’s guitar speaks several languages (reminds me a bit of Neil Young as I’ve stated in previous reviews)  and cuts like “Swim the River,” “Kin to the Mountain’ and the amazing “Wild Again” will just destroy everything in your house while you’re sitting there listening to it (you didn’t need that stuff anyway). He slows it down a bit on cuts like “ I Stay, You Go” and “Blood on My Tooth,” and “Nature is Always True” but those songs lack no power, staying or otherwise. My only real complaint is that he doesn’t record often enough, otherwise, another terrific Great Lakes record.

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