The Besnard Lakes Albums

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Band Members:

Nicky Lizee (keyboards), Steve Raegele (guitar, vocals), Jace Lasek (vocals, guitar), Richard White (guitar), Kevin Laing (drums, vocals), Olga Goreas (bass, vocals)

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Biggest Influences:

Beach Boys, Slowdive, Pink Floyd, The Cure, Mercury Rev

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2007

The Dark Horse (4 / 5)

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2010

The Roaring Night (4.5 / 5)

      The Roaring Night is a continuation of the last album, The Dark Horse, which is a fine thing. This one ups the ante by being more thought out and more consistent. This is an album of extreme orchestration and emotion: The suites that begin each side of the album “Like the Ocean” and “Land of Living Skies” are soothing and devastating at the same time, like a wave of shoegaze hitting a wall of power pop chords. “And this is What We Call Progress” is the albums defining song, showing how to glide on the tracks and let the soundscapes truly shimmer.

        The relationship to Arcade Fire is unmistakable, but more of a compliment then anything else, as the husband and wife duo are more in sync with each other and at times form one, consistent voice (more like Low than Arcade Fire). Some of the songs could go on longer than they do (“Glass Painter”, “Albatoss”), and some slightly over stay their welcome (“Land of Living Skies”, “Chicago Train”) but in all it is the tightest record yet from a band that has beat many hyped up bands at their own game. Besnard Lakes exist in the shadows, waiting to be discovered.

Best Tracks: And This is What We call Progress, Glass Painter, Like The Ocean Like the Innocent Pt. 2

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2013

Until In Excess, Impenetrable UFO (4.5 / 5)

            The Besnard Lakes 3rd album is perhaps the definition of a “slow burner”. At first it might sound like they have gone back to the sound of The Dark Horse and abandoned The Roaring, but actually it is a sublime mixture of the two albums. By focusing on their melodies and song lengths, Besnard Lakes have a sort of minor classic on their hands. At least four of these songs are unbelievably good: “Colour Yr Lights In”, “People of the Sticks”, “At Midnight”, and opener “46 Satires”. Maybe more will open up on subsequent listens….it is a perplexing rock and roll album and pushes music on to the future.

Best Tracks: Colour Yr Lights In, At Midnight, People of the Sticks

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2016

A Coliseum Complex Museum (5 / 5)

            Oh, the awful album titles of The Besnard Lakes. I am positive that most people are not going to flock to an album called Coliseum Complex Museum, but I am here to tell you that you should. This band has been at it for a while, and in a way, they keep making the same album over and over with a mix of shoegaze, psychedelics, and never ending male/female harmonies. Beach Boys melodies, Arcade Fire pathos, and King Crimson grandeur all weigh in heavily and blend perfectly in this underrated Canadian’s bands work. More than any other band around, lead singer Steve Raegele understands that music is about “sound” and uses waves of noise to make his songs soar deep into the stratosphere.

             That being said, this is the best collection of songs they have come up with. There is not a dud in the bunch, and choosing favorite songs is simply apples and oranges. The energetic and tribal drumming of “Necronomicon”, my personal favorite blend of styles on “Towers Sent to Her Sheets of Sound”, the thundering triplet shimmers of “Golden Lion” would be a radio staple in another universe; opener “The Bray Road Beats” exudes heavenly aromas. “The Plain Moon” brings the spooky quality with thundering guitar riffs to the forefront. “Tungsten 4” ends the album with an epic guitar solo, showing this is classic rock after all is said and done. At eight songs, there is just enough to satisfy and, unlike so many contemporaries, not too many songs to digest. It’s gorgeous neo-psychedelia that puts all of their contemporaries to shame.

Best Songs: Towers Sent to Her Sheets of Sound, The Plain Moon, Necronomicon