Friday, March 9, 2007

Album Review- The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse

The Besnard Lakes
The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse

Sometimes we’re just too eager. We want what we want, and we want it now. No matter how good it may be, we don’t want to wait too long for anything. Fast cars, fast food, everything happens so quickly. People actually get offended when you recommend books. Books? Who has time to read books?!?!

People like this should stay away from The Besnard Lakes new album, The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse. Each song takes its sweet time unfolding, assembling layer upon layer of fuzzed out psych-rock goodness. The influences are obvious: Pink Floyd’s space rock, Beach Boy’s harmonies, and Spiritualized’s dense, ambient dream-pop. Thick, crunchy guitar lines usually hold down the lower end, while striking orchestral arrangements give depth, beauty, and originality to the music. The album only has eight songs, and each song takes its time navigating through the psychedelic foliage and wall-to-wall reverb. The band is primarily comprised of husband and wife duo Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas with a rotating cast of musicians. They had the advantage of recording in their home studio in Montreal, giving them unlimited time to tweak until they created the album they wanted. Luckily, their time and effort has paid off very well.

“Disaster” starts the album off politely, with Jace Lasek singing “Baby I got some words for you.” Orchestral horns, pizzicato strings, and tremolo guitar create a warm and welcoming environment for the first two minutes, until a guitar rips through the sky and strings begin to fall downward. It isn’t hard rock per se, but rocks out nonetheless. “And You Lied To Me” shows the most obvious traces of Pink Floyd. The chorus struts majestically with ascending twin guitar lines. Three-quarters into the song, the band disappears into thin air before returning to deliver a slow-burning scorcher of a guitar solo. They spend the rest of the song in a fiery blaze before leaving us with the sound of some strange synth you never knew existed before.

“Devastation” is one of the few tracks that doesn’t waste time getting to the good stuff. A chorus literally sings “Devastation” like it’s the messiah over laser-light show synths. Even the drummer(s) get some, giving a multi-kit encore-worthy workout. The album ends with “Cedric’s War”, which is distinctly lighter than the seven songs that precede it. It sounds like a bouncy British pop song, but the most direct influence would be The Beach Boys. It’s an interesting way to close an album where the most common themes seem to be disaster and devastation. Even the title is an apocalyptic reference. But just like the proto-psychedelic space-rock of the seventies, maybe we’re not supposed to take it so seriously.

No matter how hard they rock, the music still exists in a partial state of serenity. It’s dense, yet spacious at the same time, causing a hypnotic undercurrent of sound and silence. You could probably fall asleep to it, and that’s not a bad thing. …Are The Dark Horse isn’t an instantly gratifying album. It’s a slow-burning incense. The embers gently fall before they dissipate into the ether, and you should enjoy every minute of it while it lasts.

Download >>Disaster

Download >>Devastation

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