The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night, the latest tongue-twisting effort from Saskatchewan-based The Besnard Lakes, plays precisely as it reads: a labored, atmospheric journey from reality into dream.
Building upon 2007’s The Besnard Lakes Are the Dark Horse, this 10-track set reveals the six-member group (including husband-and-wife Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas) as unabashed lovers of structure. The track listing places a sci-fi twist on a would-be Shakespearian play ("Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent" Pt. 1 & 2, "Land of Living Skies" Pt. 1 &2) and translates mere song into seven-minute-plus epic ("Light Up the Night") that could turn a Thriller-era Jackson green with envy.
That latter track becomes The Besnard Lakes’ standard, but is it one-note too many? The disc’s longest runner, "Light Up the Night" plays twin to those hazy two-parters, the lush harmonies, soaring guitars, and detached vocals leaving the listener an uncertain witness to the scene.
Luckily, the upbeat "Albatross" and aptly-titled "And This is What We Call Progress" shorten that distance. "Albatross" features a roaring intro, backed by the band’s trademark vocal tricks, while "…Progress" performs its title well, heavy, marching beats and guitar meeting in a far cry from the fog of previous tracks.
"The Lonely Moon" makes for a sleepy closer, but reaffirms the band’s apparent goal: crafting a dream of a world. Indeed, The Besnard Lakes achieve it—but can they escape it?
The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night is out now on Jagjaguwar Records.