Seeing an actual lake monster on a drizzly day.
Why You Should Care:
Sufjan Stevens has made a career out of blending simple folk elements into complex arrangements. His 2015 album Carrie & Lowell, though wrought with soft-spoken existential angst, presented a resolution to his musical paradoxes. The acoustic instruments on that album sounded a shade electronic, and vice versa. They came together and formed an entirely original indie-folk experience. Apparently, the B-sides do the same thing.
“Wallowa Lake Monster” gives us another chapter in Sufjan’s musical evolution, as well as in the lyrical tale of his mother Carrie. The song draws parallels between the legends of Sufjan’s mother (mentioned throughout his work) and a Leviathan-like creature said to once lurk about Oregon’s Wallowa Lake. It follows —maybe even refines — the classic Sufjan model of weaving tall, majestic lore into a common exploration of self, with instrumentation that shifts between heavy and light.
Starting out with basic picking pattern, similar to “Death with Dignity” and other songs from Carrie & Lowell, it morphs into a more epic synth composition, with a good bit of spacey instrumental by its conclusion
“Wallowa Lake Monster” doesn’t feel like a B-side, matching the scope of any major Carrie & Lowell release. The song gives us a nice hold-over as we await Sufjan’s The Greatest Gift Mixtape — Outtakes, Remixes, & Demos from Carrie & Lowell. Look out for the full compilation on November 24, 2017.