Will Whitwham

5 breakout bands from Toronto in 2012: #5 Lake Forest

Over the next five weeks we'll be taking a look at local bands that are on verge of breaking out in 2012. Up first is Will Whitwham's Lake Forest.

Who is Lake Forest?

If you've heard of The Wilderness of Manitoba and their trail of winning melodies, then you'd've certainly heard of the band's lead vocalist, Will Whitwham. Whitwham's new solo project, Lake Forest, and his album Silver Skies (Verite Records) takes pastoral expanse and turns it inward, creating vivid lyrical snapshots of haunted emotional landscapes.

It sounds like...

Lake Forest plays ambient folk with a flurry of melancholia, using winter as a central motif by which to set the mood on Silver Skies. "I think the cold of winter can really heighten the senses while at the same time internalize and make one reflect on all that has happened over the past year or so," says Whitwham. There's a pervading sense of solitude on this album, but also a degree of contentment that pushes through the apparent gloominess. Lake Forest manages to transform the wild Canadian landscape into sound that's both haunting and recognizable.

Lake Forest is one to watch because...

If you enjoyed Jennifer Castle's Castlemusic — one of last year's great surprises — then you will connect with this album. Whitwham has created something special with Silver Skies that stands apart from his collective efforts and also speaks to the country we call home. So while the flame of The Wilderness of Manitoba continues to burn bright, Whitwham proves he can stand alone and emerge in his own right.

"Music is something to be shared with your family and friends, which is probably where a good campfire comes in handy," he explains. And Lake Forest's Silver Skies is inviting, thoughtful and strikingly beautiful at times, warming us with its greatest feature: Whitwham's enduring, lonesome voice and the solitary strums of acoustic guitar that accompany it. The album's standout track "Autumn Skies" grips you with its combination of sorrow mixed with moments of joy, a tension that proves most fertile for Whitwham's songwriting on this promising record.

Lake Forest - Autumn Skies by killbeat music

A big thanks to the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic for sponsoring the long hours of listening to music, attending gigs and chatting up groupies that went into writing this post.


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