Lake Forest is the solo project of Canadian singer-songwriter Will Whitwham (The Wilderness of Manitoba). Although less immediately vulnerable and raw, Silver Skies is a winter album that sounds like Canada’s answer to Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago. From the beginning, it is obvious that Whitwham is a sensitive musical craftsman. The simplicity and purity of his approach is well balanced with a keen sense of space, and his overdubbed vocals are used to great effect. As a result Silver Skies bears comfort instead of unearthing angst.
The first two tracks, “Cathedral” and “Autumn Skies”, are outstanding in this regard and pose guitar work reminiscent of fellow Canadian Bruce Cockburn. The whole album offers a consistent reflective mood, while individual tracks in the middle of the album struggle to fully develop. In spite of the lagging middle, Silver Skies is bookended with some outstanding tunes. “Coming Through Slaughter”, “Birds of Prey”, and “Silver Stars” shine as the standout tracks of the last half of the album. These highlights make this album worth seeking out for a peaceful night alone or with a friend. Light a fire and pour a glass of wine. Silver Skies is lush and unassuming, heartfelt but never pushy.