Canada - Full Moon 167 - 04/28/10
The Besnard Lakes
The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night
With their third album, The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night, the Montreal band gives a strong follow-up to the breakthrough album The Besnard Lakes Are the Dark Horse.
Fronted by the husband-and-wife duo Olga Goreas and Jace Lasek, the Besnard Lakes creates a nice blend of sounds - combining layers of beauty with uncompromising rawness. Describing the music as psychedelic noisy pop rock with shoegazing guitars and surf-pop harmonies could probably serve as an indication - or maybe simply as Yo La Tengo meets Beach Boys. The term 'indie' lost its meaning way back, but The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night could maybe be a manifestation of the term's original intention. But the genre in itself is not the key. What is of importance is that the band is able to blend these impulses into an interesting album - an album that will undoubtedly grow on you if you give it time.
The album starts off with "Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent (Pt 1 & 2)", a chimerical piece of work with Jace's falsetto vocals in a slow pace rock song. Jace and Olga take turns as lead vocals throughout the record. The mixed in surf-pop harmonies create a feel-good sound - as the released-as-single "Albatross" serves as a good example of. The catchy beat and repetitive guitar on "And This is What We Call Progress" keeps popping into my head, and I guess that could count as a favourite. But it is hard and somewhat unnecessary to pick favourites on a strong album like this. That being said, the Besnard Lakes did not make music for the masses with this album, nor is it likely to have been their intention. But if you give it enough time and dedication, the album will be accessible also to the uninitiated.
The band played at the outdoor Øyafestivalen in Oslo in 2007, which for me was a rather memorable and impressive introduction to the band. After the release of their third album, the band once again slotted Oslo into their quite extensive tour schedule, a tour that included locations on both sides of the Atlantic. I was of course curious about what the band had developed into over the last years, and on the back of a strong album, Besnard Lakes delivered a great concert at Café Mono on 6 April 2010! Though the performance at Øyafestivalen was very good, this is a band that deserves the intimacy of a smaller (and darker) venue. The band is very laid-back and unpretentious on stage which created a nice ambiance for the crowd (the room was packed with about 100 or so people). By all means, their music deserves to reach out to a much larger audience, but I have to admit that I enjoyed the charm and privilege of listening to my favourite Canadian band playing in a small venue in my home town on a perfectly ordinary Tuesday evening!
Copyright © 2010 Torkil Sletten