In October 2015, one Canadian band set forth to craft a musical epic. Lakes of Canada released their second LP, Transgressions, which is a concept album based on Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. Following from its dystopian inspiration, Transgressions is powerful, evocative, tense, and thematic. Everything about this record screams drama, with characters that seem to leap out of the music.
The album opens with “Eden”, a soulful opening which serves as a prelude to the heavy-hitting body of Transgressions. While this track stylistically stands out from the remainder of the album, it showcases the vocal prowess of Lakes of Canada. The multi-voiced vocal harmonies are one of the most important features of their music, which results in much of the album having a choral atmosphere.
The remainder of the record is about as maximalist as they come. Transgressions is an album with a huge sound. The band plays with purpose and confidence, with each member having a prominent role to play. It’s the kind of power reminiscent of Jethro Tull’s major concept albums, but put in a modern indie rock context. Just like albums like Thick as a Brick, these songs are characterized by themes which change quickly from one passage to the next, only to return in a later track. Interludes between primary songs ensure that the album flows perfectly from beginning to end.
The epic nature of Lakes of Canada translates perfectly to the live stage. This band puts on an energetic and moving show. Fortunately for us Ottawa folks, they’re playing the Black Sheep Inn this Friday. Don’t miss it! To get yourself prepared, the band is streaming all of Transgressions on their website.