Tony Dekker, lead singer and songwriter of Great Lake Swimmers, is set to release his first solo album, Prayer of the Woods, this week. For someone who has been so integral to the production of such a popular and successful Canadian indie-band, his solo act—although decent—is a bit of a let down in comparison to what the band has done as a cohesive group.
There isn’t anything inherently unappealing about the album. Its overall sound is certainly enjoyable: calm, introspective, and meditating. It’s meant to evoke images of nature and to celebrate a human retreat into simplicity. But its wispy feel at times begs for a little more substance.
The indie world has seen a lot of soft, alternative rock as of late: Bon Iver, William Fitzsimmons, Sufjan Stevens—the list goes on and on. It takes a certain nuance to stand out among the overcrowded population of confessional warblers, and it’s safe to say that this album is lacking whatever that special something might be.
Nevertheless, there is some serious musicality infused into the tracks. Most notable among Dekker’s work is standout piece “Talking in Your Sleep,” a dreamlike, faster-paced tune. It contrasts from others with bright, waltzing rhythms, and well-crafted harmonies. The beautiful harmonica solo has a nostalgic feel, reminiscent of American folk band Beirut.
For all fans of Great Lake Swimmers, this album is definitely worth a look. Prayer of the Woods is successful in transporting listeners to a more peaceful place and natural state of mind. Just don’t expect anything too unique.