Oh, The Places We’ll Go
It isn’t an accident when my music reviews start to sound the same. I know what I like: progressive hip-hop, experimental electronica, dance-punk, woodsy indie folk, baroque pop, and twee from the Pacific Northwest. My partner teases me that all of my music has to be good for one of three things, if not a combination of them: dancing, driving long distances, and effecting social change. At least I know what does it for me.
LAKE and their newest album, Oh, The Places We’ll Go (named for the Dr. Seuss book of the name title), come courtesy of Olympia, Washington’s twee arbiters K Records. For me, it falls distinctly into the “great driving music” category, upbeat and charming without too much fuss. Not to be confused with the German Krautrock band Lake, this bouncy, fun release from LAKE mixes the band’s own songwriting abilities with sounds from influences like Architecture in Helsinki and Kimya Dawson. While some may find dueling male and female vocals confusing, I like this gendered equality, the ability to jockey for space within one song.
The album starts off lively and keeps its pace on the short album. “Blue Ocean Blue,” the most melodically pleasing song, comes complete with handclaps and the endearing, existential lyrics, “Always looking to obscure the most beautiful things/Well, I guess that is your right/Unexplainable emotions pushing you to the wall/Coming up chasing unattainable light.” It’s the kind of lovely track you stick on a mix CD of otherwise recognizable songs and wait for your friends to ask, “What is this?” Not to only focus on the album’s sort of single, “Counting” is the most catchy, danceable track with guitar solos and well, more handclaps. Musicians don’t get much happier than this.
I have no doubt you’ll find yourself slapping the steering wheel if you throw this in while cruising around. A more harmonious Beat Happening, a less complicated Belle and Sebastian, LAKE is twee pop at its finest.