Diamond Times

Great Lakes

With their third full-length album, Diamond Times, the band’s intention was to make an engaging, varied, and solid record; and to capture the organic feel and sound of a band playing together. That they’ve progressed and evolved as songwriters and musicians is immediately evident, as it’s lyrically more direct and something of a new sound for them. The songs range in style from the synth-heavy and seemingly New Wave-influenced “Farther”, to the saxophone-driven rock and roll of “Hot Cosmos”, and on to the fiddle and steel guitar-oriented country sound of “Night Hearts” and “The Moon and the Lunatics.” It all still sounds like Great Lakes, but they’re into new territory here, and sounding better than ever.


Great Lakes third album, 2006’s Diamond Times, shows a remarkable amount of growth for the duo of Dan Donahue and Ben Crum… On Diamond Times they sound more like a classic rock band than a bedroom pop band, the songs are bolstered by honking saxes, pedal steel, barroom pianos, loads of vocal harmonies and muscular electric guitar lines. Add this to the decidedly more confident lead vocals and the result is a much richer sound than one might expect from the group given their track record (or from a look at the list of musicians who contributed to the album, including as it does members of the Essex Green, Of Montreal, BP Helium and the Ladybug Transistor.) As well as the bulked up and more sophisticated sound, there is a deeper sense of emotion and feeling to the album. From gently rollicking Band-influenced tunes like The Pinks and the Purples and Shaky Faith to new wave rockers like Farther, from mid-tempo soft rock tunes like Diamond Times to windswept and heartfelt ballads such as Precious and Reckless, this is as powerful and hooky an album as anyone related to E6 has released. It doesn’t sound like kids mucking around making goofy pop songs anymore, it sounds like important songs about real things. Not that goofy pop songs are bad, far from it, it’s just that there are always young bands coming along to fill that need, when bands can progress and mature and still sound as great as Great Lakes do on Diamond Times that’s something to celebrate. This is an amazing comeback that, along with the Essex Green’s Cannibal Sea and Of Montreal’s Satanic Panic in the Attic, shows that long after the Elephant 6 scene lost its buzz, some of the bands involved are putting out their best work.”
– Allmusic Guide

“The Elephant 6 buzz has long since worn off, so what do those idiosyncratic Athens-era bands do now? They grow up and start releasing the best music of their careers. Great Lakes’ third album, Diamond Times, sounds classic rather than quirky. It’s confidently balanced and rippling with soft rock touches, plenty of country and folk elements and hooky pop. The 10 cuts are bolstered by a who’s-who of likeminded artists (members of the Essex Green and Of Montreal drop in to have some fun) who sprinkle tracks with pedal steel, sax, clarinet, organ, harmonies and robust guitars. Dan Donahue and Ben Crum tweak conventions, adding subtle psychedelics to Americana-influenced material such as “The Pinks and the Purples,” “The Moon and the Lunatics” and “Shaky Faith.” They get new wavy on the fuzzy rocker “Farther” and go retro on the faux-’50s nugget “Hot Cosmos.” Despite the musical diversity, Great Lakes keeps everything fundamentally absorbing and genuine, in the process crafting one of this year’s most underrated gems. Grade: A”
– Campus Circle.net

“Diamond Times is a testement to the power and brevity of pop music. Full of sweeping melodies, romantic tendencies and melancholic occurances, “Diamond Times” is pretty much everything I could’ve asked for in an album.”
– Paper Magazine

“[Great Lakes] have just released one of the best albums of this year… Since the band got together in 1996, they’ve seemingly gone unnoticed despite being one of the more creative bands to be placed under the Elephant 6 umbrella… Instead of merely experimenting with psychedelia, they’ve happily brought together garage and country influences to make records that defy description as defiantly as they possibly can…. They have managed to create a record that is easier to listen to than it is to categorise. This is a spectacular album.”
– Exclaim! Magazine


  1. The Pinks and the Purples
  2. Farther
  3. Precious and Reckless
  4. Hot Cosmos
  5. The Moon and the Lunatics
  6. Shaky Faith
  7. Night Hearts
  8. Diamond Times
  9. Horses Wings -listen-
  10. Eagle and Swan

Released: 2006-09-01

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