Release Date: August 20, 2021 Genre: Indie Rock, Dream Pop, Shoegaze Label: Independent
The Kingston, Ontario-based indie rock/dream pop duo Funeral Lakes has returned with a new offering, a four-track EP titled Redeemer. Funeral Lakes was formed in 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia when the duo -Chris Hemer and Sam Mishos- were self-producing music in their apartment searching for an outlet for their creativity in hopes to find a way to express their fears and frustrations. Hemer and Mishos decided to go the DIY route and learned and honed their musical talents at every level, and without a normal recorded process, the duo began working diligently on their self-titled debut album that was released in December 2019. With everyone stuck at home in 2020 and scheduled plans tossed aside due to the pandemic, Funeral Lakes began work on new music, which ultimately led to the release of their follow-up EP, Golden Season, in September 2020. Redeemer was once again self-produced and self-recorded by Hemer and Mishos at their home during the winter months of 2021. As well as being mixed and mastered by Colin Spratt -who did the mixing and mastering of both their previous two works.
Unlike their self-titled debut album and their Golden Season EP, the band stray away from their folky indie rock/alternative rock sound and shift into a four-song collection that can't be described by one specific genre. Staying in the indie-rock realm, the band pushes forward creatively with an atmospheric, shoegazed-riddled dream-pop approach on top of a sound the two already mastered on their two previous efforts.
The forthcoming Redeemer EP opens with the opening number, "Solstice." A pounding bass drum plays out with a hard-driven bass line as Mishos begins singing. Her backing vocals echo loudly around Hemer's leads. As the song builds over its three minutes and five seconds, an overbearing sense of dread takes hold like that looming jumpscare you know is about to happen in a horror movie. Both Hemer and Mithos share the vocal leads -something they would swap between each other throughout both of their previous efforts. Following "Solstice" is the more upbeat track "Place I Stay." The second song features a much faster tempo, the tune is a lot more atmospheric than the first, and that dread still looms over the music. Additionally, these first two tracks feature Andrew McLeod (Sunnsetter) performing the drums. McLeod provided all the drumming you hear on these two tracks by recording them remotely from his home.
Lyrically, both Hemer and Mithos explore the meanings of faith and justice by interrogating the tension between the two subjects. It also grapples at memory and legacy as a reflection on choosing what to hold onto and what to let go of. The bigger picture that's tackled over its short twelve minutes and twenty-one-second length is posed in the two questions, "Who gets to grant forgiveness?" and "What does it mean to be irredeemable?"
On "Saint Dymphna," the band remains in the same sound, and at this point on my initial listen, it became overwhelming. It's like the feeling you have had these past eighteen months of the pandemic but pulled into four songs. With the upbeat elements of the EP being the positive outlook you have for the end of the pandemic. While lyrically, it doesn't entirely have to do with the last year and a half, but it's an eerie sound to describe. Closing out Redeemer -after that weird analogy- is the appropriately titled, "There's Got To Be Something Better Soon." A stripped-down acoustic number that closes out the EP on an emotional high.