Photo: Roy Zheng
Words: ROBIN MUMFORD
Rustic folk-pop with a tinge of sentimental value, Funeral Lakes latest EP ‘Redeemer’ is feasibly a hidden gem waiting to be found, whilst it rides the inching wave of folk revival. The construct explores the meanings of faith and justice, interrogating the tension between them, pursuing a unique blend of enchanted sounds that are perfect for a foggy road trip through the duo’s home country of Canada.
‘Redeemer’ is a striking collection of tracks that are unlike any music this generation has heard before. While there are undertones of The Lumineers in the folk road trip atmosphere that the Toronto-based band curate, and there are splashes of a pursuit in being the emotionally scarred offspring of The Velvet Underground and Arcade Fire, ultimately, Funeral Lakes are on their own path, away from the crowd.
The opening song ‘Solstice’ is a faultless beginning track which grapples with memory and legacy, a reflection on choosing what to hold onto and what to let go of. It pre-eminently captures the imagination of any listeners with its bewitching echoes and steady paced vocals, conjuring a reflective thinking process throughout, while never failing to bring a sensation of optimism with its upbeat finish.
There is no doubt that the latest EP in Funeral Lakes repertoire of atmospheric sounds is the most sensory infused of them yet, and it is no surprise to learn that the band took inspiration from their surroundings in the production of it. Talking ahead of its release, they lamented:
“Our surroundings are hugely influential on the music we make. Where we live, there are many old buildings and churches, so we thought about emulating what it might sound like to be performing in a space like that. That ended up coming through as a lot of reverbs, so the sound is pretty cold, moody, and lonely because of all that empty space.”
The EP then flowingly changes tone in a reverberating upbeat tone through ‘Place I Stay’, while keeping that same sentimental value to the overall layering of the track, which is in full-tilt through the 12-minute release. A faster ripple on the guitar aids the second track in upholding a more positive outlook. But before you have a chance to blink, you are back feeling that reminiscent nostalgia in ‘Saint Dymphna’, which sounds much more like the opener.
Funeral Lakes cap off a well-informed release with ‘There’s Got To Be Something Better Soon’ which will evoke feelings of pollyannaism and optimism as you experience a journey through the whole album in one last full-tilt acoustic ballad. By the end of ‘Redeemer’ you will feel a sudden sense of wanting to do more, and you will be left with one question: What does it mean to be irredeemable?
The sounds and themes that these hidden Canadian treasures discover through ‘Redeemer’ are worthy of an abundance of praise and recognition. The sentimental value of the release is enticingly entrenched by sensory and atmospheric sounds that are entwined by an endless assemblage of thoughtful lyrics. Funeral Lakes are ones to watch. ****