Monday, January 29, 2007
The Besnard Lakes
The Besnard Lakes CD / LP (JAG106, released: 02/20/07)
Rich with Beach Boys style harmonies, Roy Orbison reverbs and orchestra, Pink Floyd's pacing and Freddy Mercury's falsetto, The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse is a luxurious foray into sound and music. This is the second record by The Besnard Lakes, Montrealers by way of Western Canada. Their independently released previous record, Volume I, came out in 2004, and it was noticed by critics but was largely overlooked by the public at large. On both records, The Besnard Lakes have shown that they are masters of finely-honed experimental pop songs that invoke the eerie Lynchian setting as aided and abetted by the music of Julee Cruise. But, on The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse, the band throws into the mix a mad dash of Fleetwood Mac proportioned swagger and ambition. Not so incidentally, the Besnard Lakes have created a masterpiece that will resonate within all quarters, amongst critics, casual and not-so-casual rock listeners, garden variety pop fans and headphone junkies.
The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse was recorded by Jace Lasek at the Breakglass Studios (whose production credits include Wolf Parade, Islands, Sunset Rubdown and Stars, amongst others) with his wife and band member, Olga Goreas. The other members of The Besnard Lakes, Steve Raegele, Nicole Lizée, and Kevin Laing, contributed as well. Nicole wrote dark string and horn parts, Steve wrote dark guitar solos, Kevin, dark drumming. Also joining in on the making of this record would be George Donoso III from The Dears, Chris Seligman from Stars, Sophie Trudeau from Godspeed/Silver Mt. Zion and Jonathan Cummins from Bionic/Doughboys.
As an interesting aside, the completion of the album seems to have conjured a bizarre series of unexplained events. When the six-person live band, that includes Lasek, Goreas, Raegele, Lizée, Laing and third guitarist Richard White, began performing this new material (usually accompanied by a five person choir, French horn, flute, and violins), strange things began to happen. During the quietest section in the song 'Disaster,' a bartender dropped a load of dishes onto the floor. On another occasion, while opening for Wolf Parade, during the same quiet section in 'Disaster,' the front-of-house console actually turned off (!) then on again creating a thunderous crack throughout the theatre. And Kevin Laing, (drummer) suffered second degree burns on his face the day after completing drum tracks for ...The Dark Horse. Coincidence? Maybe. This is The Dark Horse; this is The Besnard Lakes...