THE BESNARD LAKES – The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night

It has been way too long since The Besnard Lakes last album ‘The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse’, and so when this one suddenly appeared on the horizon I couldn’t wait to hear it. It starts slowly with ‘Like The Ocean, Like The Innocent Pt. 1’, which is just over a minute and a half of ambient radio static, gradually blending into ‘…Pt. 2’, where Jace Lasek’s falsetto cuts through the noise to herald the first proper song. When the guitar and drums come in halfway through I know that this is going to be no disappointment. While ‘…Pt. 1’ was over quite quickly ‘…Pt. 2’ stretches out for over seven minutes, giving the band time to build to a suitably satisfactory climax. ‘Chicago Train’ has more of the Lasek falsetto, this time buried under swathes of synth and gently picked guitar lines, and once again when the rest of the band come in midway through they take the song to an entirely new level. For ‘Albatross’ Lasek’s wife Olga takes over the lead vocal for a song that welds a gentle opening to a My Bloody Valentine guitar onslaught in the mid-section, before tailing off with some fine guitar riffing. ‘Glass Printer’ hits the ground running and keeps up a relentless pounding beat throughout the song, with guitars piled high to give it an overpoweringly dense feel. ‘Land Of Living Skies Pt. 1’ is another ambient piece that leads into part two of the song, with Olga once again on lead vocals and Jace joining her for the second half, and the band going all out to provide a sterling backing for this great song. ‘And This Is What We Call Progress’ has a motoric beat which drives the song along, and works well with the twangy guitar lines laid over it, while Jace’s voice is buried in the mix to add atmosphere rather than get over a lyrical point. The piano and guitar of ‘Light Up The Night’ once again bury the vocals, but not being someone who thinks that lyrics are the be all and end all of a song it doesn’t matter to me as long as the music touches me, which this does as it builds to a fantastic crescendo. ‘The Lonely Moan’ closes the album with a sumptuous ballad from Olga, drenched in guitar effects and with a bassline harking back to Young Marble Giants. The Besnard Lakes would have to go a long, long way to better ‘…Are The Dark Horse’, which remains one of my all-time favourite albums three years down the line, but this is a very creditable effort which I think will get even better every time I hear it.
Chicago Train