You can chalk up “Songs From Far,” the debut full-length album from indie folk collective Grand Lake Islands as one of the (very early) pleasant surprises of 2015. The Portland-based four-piece is led by Erik Emanuelson and this terrific 10-track release has me eager to hear more.
It’s a low-key, almost somber song cycle anchored by Emanuelson’s emotionally piercing tenor. But even though there’s a sense of melancholy that permeates “Songs From Far,” Grand Lake Islands never seem to wallow in their misery. Thank goodness.
Opener “Song Sung From Far” lures the listener right in and sets the tone for what’s to unfold over the course of almost an hour. Additional standouts include “Diamond Eyes,” “Atlantic-Pacific,” “White to Grey,” “Come to Call” and “Silver Moon.” Good stuff from an intriguing young band. (Jeffrey Sisk)