If I hear a better rock album this year I’ll be shocked. My god, this is just… I don’t even know how to try and encapsulate the way this album makes me feel – perhaps a bit like I felt when I first heard The Pixies. But The Besnard Lakes don’t sound like The Pixies. Not really past a certain degree of the jangle and stirrup-speared heartbreak that ebbs in and out of Doolittle. Instead the comparison that keeps jumping to my lips is this: My Bloody Valentine-meets-The Raveonettes-meets-The Beach Boys*. But comparison is such a cop-out (even if it often is the only way to truly dress the obscure sounds of good music in relatable, linguistic terms). Think dry landscapes licked by flame – flame carried by ferocious winds that howl around you. In the distance maybe you see half-glimpses of what appears to be abandoned oil derricks. You hear rain but cannot feel or see it. All around you echoing voices coax and charm you into a lush state of fever dreams…
Okay, you got me – I’m a little buzzed. But seriously, The Besnard Lakes are Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas (guitar and bass respectively) who share vocal duties with the most infatuating harmonies this side of Pet Sounds. They are rounded out by Kevin Laing and Richard White. Everything is coated in epic swathes of dreamy reverb so that the sounds of the songs hang in the ear more like paintings on the eyes** and once the album begins it’s almost over for the state of sheer rapture it produces. So play it again…
Wow. Thanks to the ever resourceful Mr. Brown for sending me this album. You called it my friend.
P.S. I was originally going to post a great clip of them playing their song ‘And This is What We Call Progress’ on, of all things, jimmy fallon’s show, but nbc has removed it. And this is what we call progress. How appropriate.
* You know I only refer to The Beach Boys as The Beach Boys when Brian Wilson is in the picture, thank you very much.
** And they are one of those increasingly rare bands that puts as much thought and effort into either choosing or extrapolating from their cover art. The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night (their third album) sounds exactly like the album cover (above) looks.