Great Lake Swimmers Hands In Dirty Ground E.P. / Live Recordings

Great Lake Swimmers Hands In Dirty Ground E.P. / Live Recordings
With the Great Lake Swimmers still completing work on their next album, this EP is a pleasant way for fans to tide themselves over and experience the band differently. Only the unreleased title track rightly qualifies as a new song but the previously unheard collection of alternate takes and live performances are a welcome revelation. An Andy Magoffin-helmed demo of "Song for the Angels” mostly matches his handling of the song on Bodies and Minds, however the latter’s tasteful ambience took the form of squalls of glorious guitar feedback in its early stages. An outtake from the Bodies and Minds sessions, "Hands in Dirty Ground,” is a stunning, unburied treasure, with Tony Dekker and the band snaking their way through a well-paced, surprising arrangement. A hauntingly beautiful live version of "I Saw You in the Wild,” captured in Hamburg, Germany, closes out the first side. A full-band version of "To Leave it Behind” conjures the delicate folk of R.E.M. circa Automatic for the People, turning the solitary fragility of its better-known recording into something almost upbeat. At a Chicago club, the band tackles Tom Waits’s "Innocent When You Dream,” replacing the original’s exuberance with brooding that builds up into muted joy once it hits its stride. In Brooklyn, "This is Not Like Home” is truly breathtaking, reminding us just how captivating a live force the Great Lake Swimmers can be. Hands in Dirty Ground serves a similar purpose, dropping hints about the band’s process and satisfying any curiosity about their unique stage presence. (Mag Wheel)