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Compass Rose Bouquet

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Album Review

For their second album, the Great Lakes Myth Society have built upon the strength of 2005's excellent self-titled debut and have upped the ante with a greater command of the art of making music in the studio. While Great Lakes Myth Society was a fine document of a great, imaginative band in full flight, Compass Rose Bouquet reveals the group has become even more ambitious in how they present their music on plastic; the arrangements are more elaborate and the production boasts greater depth and detail than in GLMS' previous trips to the studio, and while this record never comes off as slick for its own sake, the reach and vision of this album reveals that the Great Lakes Myth Society have moved past simply recording their music and eased into making albums that expand upon the possibilities of their music. And the dozen songs GLMS present on Compass Rose Bouquet are more than worthy of the confidence the group displays here; the melodies fuse folk rock, sunshine pop, indie rock, and art rock with singular imagination and steely beauty, while the potent physicality of the performances counters anything that might smack of pretension. The playing is uniformly strong, no small statement given the broad range of instrumentation on display here, and there's wit, rue, and hard-won wisdom in these songs of lives lived in the Midwest, from the meditation of college town life in "Heydays" and the heady, irresponsible nights of "Debutante" to the epochal drinking saga of "Queen of the Barley Fool" and the grand curtain call of "The Gales of 1838." What's most impressive about the Great Lakes Myth Society isn't just the strength of their music, as fine as it is, but that they've blazed a singular creative trail and have followed it with such surety; this is a great American band that just keeps getting better, and Compass Rose Bouquet is a work of rare beauty and rousing force.

Customer Reviews

the best in a long time

I saw this band live for the first time a few weeks ago and they're the best new sound I've heard in a really long time. Original lyrics and meaningful for people who live in the Midwest. Fantastic stage presence and very personable off-stage. Take a listen!


These guys have been doing hand-clapping, foot-stomping, northern folk long before the decemberist, avert brothers, lumineers, etc made it popular. The albums that this band has been putting out have been amazing. Check out Tim Monger's solo album and previous albums from The Original Brothers and Sisters of Love.

Clever, Brit-Pop-like Americana

I came across these guys in a video of a live version of "Summer Bonfires" and they sparked my interest. Best song: "Queen of the Barley Fool," an infectious sing-along ode to a barroom beauty. Some of this album reminds me of the Decemberists, while several songs (especially "March") oddly echoes Art Garfunkel's vocals from Simon &... A very assured and interesting second album. Here's hoping there's a third.


Formed: January 1, 2004 in Michigan

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

The Great Lakes Myth Society are that rarity, a folk-rock band that actually rocks out, while at the same time capturing the mystery and wonder of the traditional folk narrative and adapting it to the present day. Based in Michigan, the Great Lakes Myth Society draw the lion's share of their inspiration from life in the Mitten State, from the wreckage of the Motor City to the frozen splendor of the Upper Peninsula, and their literate but passionate music has won them a loyal following in the Midwest,...
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