Published Oct 14, 2015Following the tragic death of his mother in 2010, Lakes of Canada member Jake Smith was sorting through her possessions when he came across Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale. Struck by the novel's graphic characterization of the oppression of women, Smith began writing songs influenced by the themes and characters in the book.
The result is Transgressions, a "musical fan fiction," a brave and multi-faceted exploration of the fictional world of Gilead as much as it is of contemporary society. In the final sentence from Atwood's main character Offred, she says, "And so I step up, into the darkness within; or else the light." This album embodies that sentiment; it's filled with sadness and loss and yet is marked by the faintest light of hope.
Lakes of Canada mirror the atmosphere Atwood created in her book and weave their deft voices and instrumentation throughout. In the album's first three songs, Lakes of Canada jump from soulful a cappella ("Eden") to hard rock ("The Fall") to introspective instrumentals ("Interlude 1"). As Transgressions develops, the band merge pop with gospel in its examination of men's behaviour ("The Sons of Gilead") and capture the complex relationship between Offred and Nick, another character, in the folky and wistful "The Handmaid's Tale 2." In the closer and title track, the band comes together to form a powerful collective, asking, "What would you say if I told you that I'd keep you safe?"
An epic rich in detail and passion, Lakes of Canada have a Canadian classic on their hands with Transgressions. (Independent)