A body of liquid on the surface of the world is a good description of “Lake.” Both the body of water and the band.
Here’s a collective of voices and musicians who, like the unconfined limitlessness of water in a lake, use their talents to a pliable, refreshing effect.
Lake is ready to release “Oh, The Places We’ll Go,” their newest CD on the K Records label. They perform an all-ages show starting at 7:30 p.m. at Living Green in Langley on Friday,
Oct. 17 along with Bayview High School band Krissy and fellow tour band, Desolation Wilderness.
Two of the band’s members, Eli Moore and Ashley Eriksson, live on Whidbey Island and are excited to share this new record with islanders of a variety of ages. They’ve just begun a U.S. tour with fellow band members Andrew Dorsett, Markly Morrisson, Lindsay Schief and Adam Oelsner.
The concert is co-sponsored by Living Green and Project PAL, a collaboration between Preston Ossman, Alexis Leduc and Lauren Stelling who want to help young people find a place to perform and hear new music on the island.
“As a group we dedicate ourselves to bring all-ages music to Whidbey Island on the weekends when no one else can find much to do,” Ossman said.
The teens used the South Whidbey Youth Council to get started and have recently branched off to become their own grassroots production team.
Moore applauded Project PAL for taking the bull by the horns, since years ago he encountered the same problem as a teenager.
“Growing up on the island, there was nowhere to see a show,” Moore said.
“I started following the bands from the K Records label and you could walk up to them and talk to them. That inspired me to be able to do that for younger people.”
“It’s lame to not be able to go to a show because you’re younger,” band member Morrison said.
Moore said he probably would have formed a band sooner had he had a place to perform when he was underage.
“It’s almost like the criminalization of music,” Eriksson said, referring to the most persistent underage music lovers doing almost anything to get into a show.
“Everybody needs support; everybody needs a forum,” she said.
But although Lake is interested in supporting the youthful crowd, they said their shows are for everyone. They are interested in getting their music out to anywhere bands may not normally perform.
To that end, they try to play as many small towns as they can, and have been known to reach out to senior citizens, as well.
The band members said the experience of playing for the elderly is a rewarding one, and the response from nursing home audiences has been mostly positive.
“It feels like we’re bringing something fun and youthful to them,” Eriksson said.
Fun and youthful is a good way to describe the feeling of Lake’s music. But while the title of the CD and the title song “Oh, The Places We’ll Go” pays homage to the whimsically prophetic Dr. Seuss, there’s nothing childish about this album.
The multi-tasking band members of Lake all lend their talents on a variety of instruments, vocal harmonizing and songwriting.
“Blue Ocean Blue” is sheer percussive fun with a snappy, melodic tune and intriguing lyrics, while “Counting” boasts a combination of melting-pot rock and darkly sardonic counting phrases, like a skewed but still pleasant Sesame Street song that might be covered by Willy Wonka’s umpa lumpas.
The title track is a masterpiece of the best blend of smooth-tongued ’70s rock with a raw beat and an innocent-sounding choir of voices backed by cleverly-used background sounds.
Many of the songs on this record use a variety of sounds made with claps, sticks, keyboards, horns, bells, voices and all manner of well-placed harmonies.
There’s no one influence, but a combination of the collective, improvising brain of the group with bossa nova, samba, dub, reggae, ABBA, the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, barbershop quartet and even the Indian-influenced drone music, work together to put this record in a genre all its own.
It’s a fresh listening experience. There’s so much going on in this music and it makes sense that any-aged person could enjoy it.
Band member Dorsett said, artistically, music such as Lake plays is part of the K Record label tradition.
“It’s an ethic,” he said.
“It’s about being independent and not about perfection; about being human and honest in music,” Dorsett said.
K Records is an Olympia-based label of which a lot of these musicians have been fans since the 1980s, having released albums by bands such as Beck, Modest Mouse and Kimya Dawson, the artist who wrote the majority of the songs for the Oscar-nominated film “Juno.”
In the spring and summer, Lake toured Europe. During the tour, K Records contacted them and offered to release the new album.
It was a coup for both the band and K Records.
“Lake is a fabulous group of musical people,” said K Records founder Calvin Johnson.
“They are good to work with because they have a very optimistic world view … they know what they’re doing, and if they don’t, they make it up on the spot. They are very capable, and don’t need any encouragement,” Johnson said.
Mariella Luz is a producer at K Records. She said Lake has been on the label’s radar for a long time, and the time was right to record an album.
“When we heard the record it sounded really nice and felt right,” she said.
But beyond the sound, Lake has the attitude the company looks for in a band, mainly lots of personality and the willingness to be a part of a family that’s into the relationship for the long term.
“They have a lot of connections to the other bands we produce. The bands lend support to each other, even though they all have different sounds,” Luz said.
K Records prides itself on doing things differently in an industry full of digitally mastered illusion and commercialism.
The studio uses only analog recording equipment as opposed to digital. It keeps the music warm, rich and honest, with happy accidents and musical imperfections adding to the quality to which K Records strives.
“It’s not that digitally recorded music can’t be rich,” Luz said. “It’s just Calvin’s way to preserve a method of recording that is becoming extinct.”
If attitude, aptitude and honesty in music are the main thrust, K Records has succeeded with “Oh, the Places We’ll Go.”
Living Green is at 630 Second St. in Langley. The show costs $5.
Patricia Duff can be reached at 221-5300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.