Roundelay is LAKE’s most cohesive, adventurous, and fully realized record to date with their own brand of sophisti-pop. It is rich, layered, developed, and at times, avant-garde. Odd time-signatures reign without being too mathy, and sprinkles of horn arrangements, grand piano, and pedal steel put the elevator in the new genre they dub from this moment forward, elevator punk.
To summarize the record, “LAKE got heavy!” was exuberantly yelled at a recent gig in their hometown on Whidbey Island, WA. The band agrees their once lighter sound has drifted into a realm where they feel comfortable calling themselves “rock.”
LAKE formed 14 years ago in Olympia, WA. Their song “Christmas Island” is the ending credits theme in popular Cartoon Network show, Adventure Time. Over the years, LAKE has collaborated with Northwest native Karl Blau extensively in the studio and on the road as his back-up band. They released records for historic indie label K (Beat Happening, the Microphones) for 6 years before jumping to German pop and experimental label Tapete/Bureau B for their latest release Forever or Never (2017). In 2020 LAKE is releasing their new album Roundelay with Seattle label OFF TEMPO. They are touring in February with Pinegrove in US and Japan in March and are planning more touring for Fall 2020.
The end of 2016 was tragic. We all remember the Ghost Ship warehouse fire, and of course, the election. LAKE did a US tour that October and November with Karl Blau. My wife and bandmate, Ashley Eriksson, had back pain that got worse and worse on tour to the point that she had to go to the ER in Dallas with the worst pain she had ever experienced. We left Ashley in Dallas with family, cancelled the rest of the tour, and started driving to meet her in Los Angeles where she would fly in a couple days.
While staying at her parents’ house, waiting for Ashley’s inevitable surgery, I would pick up the house nylon string guitar and strum for comfort. This is when the idea for “Resolution” came about. It’s based on the most rudimentary pop chord structure (1-4-5), but I was fascinated by a circular, almost math-y variation that I found myself playing every time I picked up that guitar. My mind really got blown when I tried playing the progression in a different key. Jumping up three half-steps! Wow, this changed the song profoundly, without changing the basic chord types. This was to become the chorus.
After tour is a time when I find that songs come easier. Maybe it’s because I’ve just spent the last few weeks (or more) playing the same songs over and over again. The only natural thing to do is make something new to play. Music once again becomes a process of discovery and self-reflection rather than rote repetition and “entertainment.”
I left Ashley in LA while she recovered and headed home to go back to my day job. On the first day I set up my trusted Tascam 424 and began demoing. I recorded the music for “Resolution” and then wrote the lyrics as quickly as I could (you can always fix them later). The song is about hope and making positive decisions. It is also about being apart from someone that you love and making the most of that time by using it to try to become a better person. I wrote the song (and all my songs, really) as a form of therapy (still haven’t gotten around to finding a therapist yet) and it really helped me. I hope this song can help other people feel strong in scary or confusing times.
— Elijah Moore