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Phantom Lake: Northern Gothic 3 is the final installment of the trilogy which began in 2002 with Northern Gothic (Camera Obscura). It was followed up by, Box of Secrets: Northern Gothic 2 (Hidden Agenda) in 2007.
When Laura Weller and Jeff Kelly were thinking about where their next project might go, Laura introduced the idea of writing songs inspired by childhood. She had grown up in a neighborhood called Phantom Lake, memories of which eventually inspired four songs on this record. Jeff also drew from youth, remembering trips to Lost Lake, about twelve miles out of Shelton, Washington, where relatives had a cabin, as well as many vacations to the Washington coast over the years. Eric Lichter remembers a family from his past in the song, “The Rosebergs,” about a catastrophic tsunami roaring in off of the Pacific.
These are the same landscapes that populated many of the songs on the two previous Northern Gothic albums. The grey skies, the endless evergreens, the “black and blue moon” and “a thousand crows” which hang over small lakeside or West Coast towns populated by the lonesome, the unlucky-in-loves and even a few slightly eerie children.
This is a dark album. It is about obsession and sorrow and murder and too much whisky. The characters that permeate these songs exist in the shadows, often in the margins of society. These lost souls of the northern gothic world of Phantom Lake remind us of what it is to be human.