The Besnard Lakes: The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night (Jagjaguwar) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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The Besnard Lakes

The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night


Mar 16, 2010 Issue #30 - Winter 2010 - Vampire Weekend Bookmark and Share

The Besnard Lakes take their grandiose cues from the '70s: massive sounds, massive ideas, double albums, and seven-minute opuses. Their harmonies are rooted in the Brian Wilson and Sgt. Pepper era. The vocal treatment, all reverb and wide-open space, is clearly set in the here and now.

The lyrics on the third full-length from Montréal's The Besnard Lakes aren't much to write home about, but that's not that point. In a lot of ways, it's fitting for the band that they simply sound cool. Anything more narrative, anything that would force the listener to pay very close attention goes against the somewhat democratic nature of The Besnard Lakes, where the gorgeous vocals and harmonies are buried deep in the mix, somewhere below the masterful musicianship and the violins and the flutes and the guitars. So one can forgive the simple chanting of, "Ooh, what's in your empty eyes?" or "Oh, you showed me so much."

All one needs to know about "Chicago Train" in terms of a story can be found in the title. The music slowly transforms, strings holding notes, undulating slowly, and then moving into a staccato rhythm, before guitars burst in and blow everything to bits, the simple declaration "This is the last train to Chicago" falling beneath it.

The Besnard Lakes roll out note after note, moment after moment, song after song that build in anticipation, spectacle, and beauty. They cast a masterful spell of push and pull (old and new, droning and attention grabbing, wide open and closed off, soft and loud, understated and elaborate...), until everything reaches the fine balance that the music and the lyrics put forth. It's a tightrope act that The Besnard Lakes tackle with not just a blindfold, but while juggling chainsaws and crocheting. And they make it look easy. (

Author rating: 8/10

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