Gun Lake – Album Review

Balfour is a mythical place. A place so worth getting to, you exert yourself to the breaking point to get there. You strive to all ends to make it, putting yourself “through hell” to achieve this destination. Luckily for you, obtaining Gun Lake’s debut album of the same name isn’t nearly as difficult, yet may be just as rewarding!

Ann Arbor’s Gun Lake is the brain child of Mark Fain, who worked previously with Ben Collins and Aaron Diehl (now with Lightning Love) before embarking on the recording journey of their first album. Balfour comes as a collaborative effort with Collins, as well as Max Monson and Ryan O’Reilly adding their talents to the tracks.

This first effort is a wholesome brand of pop folk, with some pleasant guitar work wrapped around Fain’s impressive vocals. As declared on their facebook page, Balfour “bridges the gap between the self-deprecating melancholy of Elliott Smith and the poetic beauty of Bon Iver,” and this is quite the description to uphold, yet Fain and Friends certainly seem up to the task. The guitar tracks mesh and intertwine well; while the drumming is complementary, not drawing too much attention; the bass is spot on, and the vocals and harmonies, while bringing a darker and somewhat somber tone, add to the album overall and really are perfect for the folk feel of the piece. Most importantly, no note or phrase seems out of place. Gun Lake does an impressive job of showing what they’re made of, all the while keeping the collection grounded as it doesn’t overpower or take off more than it should. For a debut, Balfour really shows the quality and talent of this young group, as each song benefits the album as a whole impressively.

Continuing their musical journey, Gun Lake will be recording a Daytrotter session in the future. As stated in their opening track: “I am a cliffhanger, you’re the edge. While I’m a cliffhanger, it’s not the end.” Let’s hope this is far from the end for Gun Lake, as this is a great album well worth checking out.

Click here to head over to their bandcamp and download Balfour – FOR FREE. It’s only going to be free for a limited time, so grab it while you can.