LAKE Channel Chaos and Confusion for "Roundelay" Video (KEXP Premiere)

KEXP Premiere
Jasmine Albertson
photo by Elijah Moore

For the past 15 years, we’ve come to expect a particular kind of sound from LAKE. The Olympia-born band has spent the past decade and a half churning out album after album of charmingly whimsical and consistently pleasant jangly twee pop that feels similar to wrapping yourself in a warm blanket. But nothing in 2020 is the same as it used to be and that includes LAKE.

Released in April, Roundelay is the ninth record from the Northwest band and by far their most adventurous. Swapping the twee for texture, LAKE try on a variety of time signatures, instruments, and offbeat lyrics to see how they fit. Turns out, very well. The avant yet airy new direction sees the former K Records band garnering more comparisons to Stereolab than the Softies and it’s an embraceable change.

The most offbeat song on the album is its opening title track. Backed by a synth chord progression that wouldn’t sound out of place on an elevator or as the backing soundtrack for a PBS show from the ‘80s, Eli Moore name checks Mork & Mindy, Cindy Lauper, and GG Allin in the midst of obliquely eerie lyrics like, “You welcome in, a little sin /Invite a smile, embrace your twin /Encourage not, another day /Protect the right, to go away.” The band describes the song as, “their most ambitious and abstract recording to date.”

Today, KEXP is premiering the video for “Roundelay.” Directed by Whidbey Island artist and animator, Gabe Adams, it is an exploration of the place where chaos and beauty meet, visually mirroring the strangeness and complexity of the song itself. Filmed and conceived at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and edited in the prevailing months, the video splices together a bevy of bizarre lo-fi images with clips of Moore being hunted by a man in a bird mask as well as close-up shots of Moore and his bandmates Ashley Erikkson and Andrew Dorsett with pig-like taped up noses.

Moore both penned the song and edited the video and attributes the overall style as an homage to experimental and lo-fi film heroes such as Harmony Korine and Stan Brackage. The video follows a path of transformation, telling the story of the fight and defeat of the idealized human self to the power of selfish and animalistic inclinations.

Roundelay is out now via local label Off Tempo Records. Watch the video for “Roundelay” as well as LAKE’s 2014 KEXP in-studio performance below.




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