An Indie Supergroup Gets Experimental

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Swan Lake features members of Destroyer, The New Pornographers, Wolf Parade and Frog Eyes.

Swan Lake features members of Destroyer, The New Pornographers, Wolf Parade and Frog Eyes. hide caption

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Friday's Pick

  • Song: "Widow's Walk"
  • Artist: Swan Lake
  • CD: Beast Moans
  • Genre: Indie-Rock

The debut of a so-called "supergroup" can be a double-edged sword for fans: It's easy to get excited by the musical possibilities, but lofty expectations — as well as the interlocking (and often contradictory) styles of the participants — can be hard to manage.

Swan Lake collaborators Dan Bejar (Destroyer, The New Pornographers), Spencer Krug (Wolf Parade) and Carey Mercer (Frog Eyes) are each seasoned and inventive songwriters who inspire eager anticipation. But at times, their recent Beast Moans falters by not always seeming to represent one cohesive vision. Still, at their best, songs like "Widow's Walk" successfully push into rewardingly experimental territory.

"Widow's Walk" toys with an almost meditative cacophony. Amid a melodic blur of fuzzed-out guitars, Bowie-tinged vocals and a fiery assault of archaic synthesizers, the words and meanings are elusive and evocative, as Bejar chants, "And in the light of what was there / it's been said they heard me bid you, 'Come on!' / on your way down Widow's Walk." The result showcases enough chemistry to make Swan Lake more than a mere curiosity.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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