23 Feb 2016

The Besnard Lakes - A Coliseum Complex Museum

Reviewed by Elizabeth Klisiewicz

The new album from Montreal studio stars The Besnard Lakes is a pristine return, in that it is more of the same dazzling studio production you’ve experienced on previous outings. With Brian Wilson on one shoulder and bands like Grizzly Bear on the other, the music here is ambitious, gorgeous, and occasionally meanders off point. I mention Grizzly Bear, because they are also a band that thrives in the studio, employing many different instruments and textures in their sonic explorations. However, The Besnard Lakes are louder and less ephemeral, swimming in the tides of Jace Lasek’s swooning falsetto vocals and the many trippy studio techniques they employ.

In parts of the wonderful opening track, “The Bray Road Beast”, I am reminded of French band Air. “Golden Lion” and “The Plain Moon” both dip their toes into dream pop and progressive musical forms, and are also both laced with psychedelic goodness. Bassist/vocalist Olga Goreas adds sweet melodic textures to the mix, providing a counterpoint to Jace’s soaring vocal inflections. “Pressure of Our Plans” sounds alot like “The Bray Road Beast” at its onset, but then it veers down a spacier path laden with golden harmonies. “Towers Sent Her to Sheets of Sound” is distinguished by percolating synths pushed to the front of the mix, while “Necronomicon” offers up more straightforward dream pop.

Beneath the billowing layers of lushness, the band does have a number of lyrical messages, but they are tendered so gently and lightly that they could well float past a distracted listener. I also enjoy the song “Nightingale”, which is slower paced dream pop with a cinematic backdrop.

While it's true that there is nothing truly groundbreaking here, this is another solid and enjoyable effort from these talented and reliable Canadians.

Vinyl, CD and Digital all available here (UK/EU), or here (US).

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