Exquisitely frosted debut from Toronto's Tony Dekker

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Overall rating:

Score 4

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Great Lake Swimmers

For someone apparently adrift in unrelenting misery, Dekker?aka GLS?makes an inviting noise. These 10 tales of spiritual dislocation amid “never-ending dark” are sparrow-delicate and keenly articulated: a gentle vocal burr against powdery acoustic guitar, ripples of piano, accordion, the low hum of crickets and a muggy production that acts to frame him behind thin sheets of gauze. In doing so, Dekker squares the circle between Nick Drake, early Neil Young and Will Oldham. If there’s a gripe, it’s in sacrificing variety for mood, but even so, emotional retreat has rarely sounded sweeter.