Local Music Review: “Softer Sticks” by Chain of Lakes

originally published in the Rapidian


On Saturday, May 4th 2013, Grand Rapids MI band Chain of Lakes releases their newest album, “Softer Sticks”.

The 9 track album opens with the instrumental “Something Along Those Lines”, a brief meditation featuring a beautifully processed vocal harmony  juxtaposed against the song’s delicate phrasing on strings. A “Tom Yorke meets Nickel Creek” vibe momentarily manifests before transitioning flawlessly into “Follow”, which due to its energy is definitely the stand out track on the album.

After the strong opening, “Softer Sticks” takes on an increasingly internalized, gentler sense of self-introspection. Elements of that high, lonesome Nashville twang intertwined with lyrics more breathed than actually sang, supported by softly articulated arpeggios, all adds up to “Softer Sticks” landing somewhere on the map between Ryan Adams and Iron & Wine.

The addition of steel guitar, as well as violin, and expanding the vocals by adding a strong female voice into the mix, balances out the sound of Chain of Lakes as the band evolves from the solid foundation established on their 2011 release “Kind of Quiet“.

While still retaining their strong West Michigan roots sound, evident in the clean, crisp execution of the instrumentation, the impact of adding new members to the lineup shows itself in a new layer of sophistication that expands the band’s musical dialogue.

Founder’s Brewing Company will hosting the cd release party for “Softer Sticks”. The show will also feature the Wallace Collective, who will also be releasing their self-titled EP. The show starts at 9pm, with Strawberry Heritage in the opening slot. Admission is $5 at the door, 21 and older.


About analogmutant

art, music, food, movies, citizen journalism, activism, and whatever else i am into at the moment...
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