Cooler by the Lake
Rory Lake Presents
Most bands sound better live than they do on disc. Maybe it’s the sound, maybe it’s the crowd’s energy, and maybe it’s the lack of distractions. But Rory Lake’s group Cooler by the Lake works the other way, the disc sounds great, but the included 90-minute DVD documentary doesn’t make the band very appealing, either visually or aurally. Mr. Lake appears like a guy who got stuck in college radio for too long, and his goofy persona on-screen is off-putting. But like many good natured hard rocking bands in the post industrial Midwest, the musical skills are solid, the hard drinking credentials unquestionable, and the songs good enough for a good time tonight.
Perhaps the problem is the poor audio quality on the DVD, which sounds like it comes from an area microphone and not off the mix board, and emphasizes channel filling fuzz and distortion. However, the CD is a much nicer project. The rocking and rolling could be any soon-to-be-famous band – early Cheap Trick, Violent Femmes, or Head East come to mind. Lake sounds better when you can hear him properly recorded and mixed. His guitarist Brad Wyzoski sparkles, and even the back-up singers sound great. I was intimidated by the two-page single spaced press release and clipping files, but by the third cut, “Tokyo”, I was convinced. This is a great band. I hope they make a second album and go national.