The Besnard Lakes: A Coliseum Complex Museum (Jagjaguwar) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, December 1st, 2023  

The Besnard Lakes

A Coliseum Complex Museum


Jan 14, 2016 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Some of indie rock’s most notable acts have married couples at their core: The White Stripes, Yo La Tengo, Low. All of these (barring perhaps the Stripes) have a record of remarkable consistency; maybe there’s something in the simultaneous pursuit of both romantic and musical bliss. Add to this tradition The Besnard Lakes. Since 2007, the Montréal rock band has released a new album every three years, each including a curious title, an artistic landscape of sorts on the cover, and a collection of dreamy and densely layered rock songs. A Coliseum Complex Museum, the Lakes’ fifth full-length (and fourth for Jagjaguwar) manages to keep up with that sterling record of consistency: It’s a beautiful and often rousing album of deep, proggy shoegaze.

The band’s namesake, Besnard Lake in Saskatchewan, actually functions as a regular source of inspiration for the songwriting duo of Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas (the band is rounded out by Kevin Laing and Richard White, as well as touring musicians Sheenah Ko and Robbie MacArthur). The natural world has always informed The Besnard Lakes’ detailed sound, as seen on its albums’ cover art, and that is no different on Museum. This time, Lasek and Goreas also delved into their shared interest in the occult and the supernatural. Such a focus seems to elevate the reverbed rock to astral planes; it’s like they’re trying to make Beach House songs with crunchy guitars instead of synths and drum machines.

“The Bray Road Beast” kicks things off to a hazy start, but as the song thumps along, the haze floats away and makes way for anthemic guitars and pounding drums. It’s an excellent distillation of the Lakes’ skills and a perfect starting line for newcomers to the band. Elsewhere, “The Plain Moon” and “Nightingale” bring heavy doses of noir-ish mystery. Despite a slight tendency to rely on similar chord and song structures, The Besnard Lakes assemble their dense sound with craft, and by the time “Tungsten 4: The Refugee” closes the album with dueling guitar solos, you’ll want to make a pilgrimage to Besnard Lake yourself. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

Rate this album
Average reader rating: 5/10


Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.