Originally a 2003 sci-fi novel by Robert Charles Wilson, Blind Lake, the duo comprised of Lotta Wenglén (guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, vocals) and Måns Wieslander (guitar, drums, bass, vocals) derived their band name from the book where in a small Minnesota locale, through alien technology, scientists are able to follow the everyday lives of aliens on a distant planet. The paranormal subject matter aptly reflects the Böste, Sweden based duo’s approach to art, music, philosophy and the perfectly normal events in life which remain perfectly unexplainable.
Wieslander explains, “It’s sort of like what we do, observe people (including ourselves) and situations from the Blind Lake headquarters. We also liked the sound of it, the sci-fi equivalent of a blank page, just waiting to be filled.”
The duo’s approach to songwriting is much like an early scene in a sci-fi plot where the observable is still hazy until each clue appears to present vivid clarity. Wenglén says, “The songs never arrive fully formed. We try to keep them pretty shapeless and just mess around with them until we get those shivers down our backs.” This approach allows them to touch on a variety of genres including new wave, soul, folk and pop to circle their core with voices intimately intertwining into a slightly haunted, ruggedly elegant soundscape.
As each song evolves and introduces a slightly varied genre, it provides an eclectic and cinematic quality as if on a soundtrack to a movie with many twists and turns, ups and downs. Although this is a band who is solidly planted in the present, with an eye to the future, history does a way of presenting itself with the diversity of genres which infiltrate their music. Much of this can be explained by not only what inspires them, but also their own musical history as well.
Wenglén, whose range of experience includes folk and pop, earned best of year accolades on her fourth solo album. She has both played and recorded with Chip Taylor (“Wild Thing”, “Angel of the Morning”) and toured and recorded with Nina Persson of the Cardigans in support of an award winning documentary called “Jag är min egen Dolly Parton” (I Am My Own Dolly Parton). Her pre-solo band ba-ba-loo toured with Whiskeytown and The Lotta Wenglén band opened for The Cave Singers.
Wieslander played with Australian punk band The Saints while his solo band Elevator Adam supported the likes of The Posies and Hoodoo Gurus. He also has a long history with dream pop act, Moonbabies’ Ola Frick in various projects.
On earth, Blind Lake’s debut album from June 9, 2015 could be best described as rootsy sci-fi, like an invitation in time travel. The duo journeys through Crosby, Stills Nash & Young’s 70s style long, warm harmonies,The Carpenters’ melancholy and the melodic intimacy of Laura Veirs while Wieslander’s rich baritone simultaneously bring to mind The National’s Matt Berninger as well as 90s new wave acts such as The Church.
As the genres seamlessly interlace and meld into a cohesive mix anchored by the harmonies between Wenglén and Wieslander, Blind Lake is like an exploration into the unknown: love, death, divorce and unconfirmed alien abductions-the everyday big stuff through a slightly distorted lens.
Lotta & Måns have been recording new music which will se the light of day sometime in 2018, either as singles or an album, or both.