Great Lakes Diamond Times

Great Lakes might just be the great forgotten Elephant 6 band. While everyone gets caught up in wondering when Jeff Mangum is going to make it back into the recording studio, Dan Donahue and Ben Crum have just released one of the best albums of this year that will go unheard by most people. Since the band got together in 1996, they’ve seemingly gone unnoticed despite being one of the more creative bands to be placed under the Elephant 6 umbrella — even if it was only on the fringes of the collective. Instead of merely experimenting with psychedelia, they’ve happily brought together garage and country influences to make records that defy description as defiantly as they possibly can. And Diamond Times is simply another example of that. Their third album is their best yet because they’ve finally found their comfort zone, and it might come as a bit of a surprise. While the Zombies are still the big influence they’ve always been, there are more songs which seem more indebted to the Band. And just like the Band, they have managed to create a record that is easier to listen to than it is to categorise. This is a spectacular album that will surely get Great Lakes some of the attention that Elephant 6 fans have been wasting on less worthy candidates. And hopefully everyone else will take notice too. (Empyrean)