Nashville-based Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes have already had a busy 2018. In January they released a 3-song EP called Chapter One, followed in April by another 3-song EP titled Chapter Two. Now the band is on the verge of putting out their first full-length since 2014’s Kid Tiger. Fashion combines their two EP releases from earlier in the year and adds 6 more new tracks to fill out the track list.
I didn’t post reviews of the two EP’s, but I certainly listened to them a number of times. “Control,” which is on Chapter One and appears as track 5 on Fashion, is on my running playlist of the best songs of 2018. I’ve been following the group since their first album, Civilized Man, and it’s been fun to hear how their sound has evolved over the years.
Fashion feels more free and less formal. The focus has changed, for sure. On their first album there are tracks that could be considered Americana or folk/rock. On Fashion the synths are flying all over the place and the bass and drum are playing a bigger part. Perhaps this can be attributed to co-producer Kyle Andrews, with whom Ellsworth also makes music under the moniker Chaos Emeralds. Or maybe this is the style they’ve always been aiming for and they’ve only just now been able to realize it.
As always I’m impressed with Ellsworth’s upper register vocals. He seems to hit notes most can only dream of, and does it with ease. The songwriting here is, as always, very good. That’s been consistent since the first song I heard by the band. I also like how the record is constructed. I don’t know if it was always planned out to have two EP’s precede the album, but the music goes together really well. The bookends of synths that end “Patterns Of Light” and begin “PARALYZED” make Fashion insanely re-listenable.
The album comes out August 24th on Color Party Records. If you haven’t heard anything by the band yet, Chapter One and Chapter Two are both available to stream on Spotify. If you dig it, you can pre-order Fashion here. If you’re in the Chicago area, they’ll be playing a set at Tonic Room on August 2nd. Tickets available here.