Giving & Recieving, 180G Black Vinyl LP
LAKE, a gentle indie-pop quintet from Olympia, Wash., embody a type of unhurried organization. Their music is busy but not aggressively so; it feels orchestral, but aside from the occasional horn chart the band sticks with pop/rock standard-bearers. Giving & Receiving is the band's third full-length for K Records, on which they continue to innocuously fidget with their miniatures. LAKE's music is aimless, but pleasantly so. For all of the time spent on the arrangements, there doesn't appear to be a guiding principle; not to perfect cuddly songcraft, not to scheme the least threatening electric guitar sound ever recorded, not to be Sufjan Stevens.
Flaws and inconsistencies are what drew me to LAKE's previous record, Let's Build a Roof, which, despite being a twee-inflected album about domesticity that featured an entire song about camping in the yard, had a subtle but distinct soul influence. Giving & Receiving is a quieter record than the already quiet Roof, and the push-and-pull between its big-but-small arrangements is less apparent. When the band jumps into an almost prog-y groove on "Mother Nature's Promise" it feels like those mid-1970s Beach Boys genre experiments, like a band ably and enjoyably co-opting a sound that they'll never return to. In other words: no pressure. LAKE's best music has a pace that is enormously comforting.
You might be waiting for a hammer to drop, to which I'd say... which one? Some options: quaint, cute, precocious, Trader Joe's. LAKE's peculiarities are almost all internal, so it's possible that if their specific purview doesn't grab your ear, nothing will. They will sound like unremarkable, overtly precious indie pop in the vein of plenty of other bands. The opening chords for one of the album's best songs ("Pilgrim's Day") recall the Dave Matthews Band's "Crash", which alone might be enough to brand LAKE "offensively inoffensive." -Pitchfork