BEFORE WE BEGIN, ask yourself this: Why do you listen to music? Surely, no matter what your preferred genre, you've conjured an answer regarding the way music so readily affects your feelings. So perhaps we should eliminate any initial complications in describing Olympia-based LAKE's music by clinging to rudimentary terms: It will make you feel good.

Throughout the first rotations of LAKE's third and most recent full-length, Giving and Receiving, a person who is even slightly susceptible to a goofy smile brought on by a well-timed chorus will be thoroughly impressed by the album's stunning handle on melody and pop sensibilities. Each song contains something infectiously tangible to latch onto, something that will lift you right out of your head—whether it is a jovial brass arrangement, or the effortless way in which Ashley Eriksson and Eli Moore combine their voices on songs like "Skeleton Costume."

Moore and Eriksson, the recently betrothed multi-instrumentalists as well as the collective trunk of LAKE's songwriting camp, have preternatural talents nurtured by each other and by nature: the trees that tower above their house in the Olympia woods and the beauty of the small steps between our creation and eventual demise. Other influences include the phantom "fifth Beatle"—whom Eriksson became fixated upon at a young age and eventually decided was herself—and strangely enough, Bruce Hornsby, who Moore admits prompted his sixth-grade foray into the world of musical performance; Moore's only wish was to render Hornsby's hit single "The Way it Is."

And while Moore and Eriksson steer the content into waters both earnestly whimsical and socially conscious, there are many diverting musical paths once the whole group—consisting of Moore, Eriksson, Andrew Dorsett, Markly Morrison, and Lindsay Schief, all of whom play literally everything—gets into the studio. "Everyone there in the vicinity of that tape machine has an influence," says Eriksson, fondly referring to the band's uniquely layered sound as a direct product of this mass collaboration.

"It is infinitely valuable to have all of those cooks in the kitchen," says Moore. "It's what makes a LAKE album what it is."