The Besnard Lakes : The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night

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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.

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