If there were justice in this world, Tony Dekker's hauntingly clear tenor would be worshipped by legions of acolytes who'd put the combined fan bases of Thom Yorke and Damien Rice to shame. Everything the Great Lake Swimmers mainman sings sounds like the sweet mantra of a repentant sinner chased by demons, while his band's precise, echoing arrangements of Wurlitzer, banjo, lap steel and fragile acoustic plinking mimic the quiet desperation of Dekker's existential cries. His lyrics, about feeling trapped in his own skin, the redemptive/destructive power of love and dodging imaginary beasties, are overwhelmingly intimate, but they're balanced by a restrained openness in the album's production. Even the soaring choir on Falling Into The Sky is just the right size. GLS should give lessons on how to succeed at the whole quiet-is-the-new-loud thing.
Great Lake Swimmers launch their CD at the Music Gallery April 2.