The Besnard Lakes &-
…Are The Roaring Night
In 2007, The Besnard Lakes surprised many with their sophomore release …Are The Dark Horse. The album was short-listed for the Polaris Prize and got a fair bit of much deserved hype. Now, following a three-year gap, The Besnard Lakes are back with their hotly anticipated follow-up …Are The Roaring Night.
Based in Montreal, The Besnard Lakes feature husband-and-wife duo Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas as its core. Lasek, co-owner of the distinguished Breakglass Studio, also acted as producer.
…Are the Roaring Night is grandiose and atmospheric.
The album opens with the brief instrumental “Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent Pt. 1: The Ocean.” It sets the mood with the wavering sound of a faint signal, while the screech of a guitar flickers in the background before being joined by the warm hum of an organ. Then comes “Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent Pt. 2: The Innocent” a seven-minute track that carries over the instrumental for a moment but is interrupted by the falsetto of Lasek and the keys of a piano. After a minute or two of lingering on Lasek, the band jumps in full force with a strong beat and a hook-laden chorus.
The opening pair proves that The Besnard Lakes are capable of resting on the edge of instrumental shoegaze but that when the time comes they can deliver a hard-hitting chorus and delve deep into indie rock. It’s also not the only pairing of songs on the album, the second set, “Land of Living Skies Pt. 1: The Land” and “Land of Living Skies Pt. 2: The Living Skies,” may not have the same impact as the opening pair, but they are just as well-crafted.
In some ways “Albatross” comes across as the standout track, but it really is only the shiniest track on an album of gems. Goreas’ strong voice is backed by warm vocal harmonies, a grinding guitar, and driven beat. Occasionally the track veers into the realm of simply epic.
…Are The Roaring Night is a very strong follow-up that will easily fill in the shoes of its celebrated predecessor. It would be a mistake not to short-list this one for a Polaris Prize as well.