The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night

The Besnard Lakes

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The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night Review

by Ned Raggett

Beginning with the first of two two-part songs, this being titled "Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent," The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night, even more than the group's first two albums, feels like the band's bid for some sort of new prog rock status now that the term is no longer a dirty word. (Not for nothing, perhaps, is one song later in the album called "And This Is What We Call Progress.") Certainly the combination of howling guitar and moody drones that kicks things off feels more than a little at home with Pink Floyd 1975, say, not to mention the high-pitched vocals of Jace Lasek, but the drums sound much more Dave Fridmann than Nick Mason. Call it Sigur Rós meets Supertramp in the end, perhaps most especially on the penultimate number, "Light Up the Night," with its keyboard-led opening moving into a slow, sweet-sounding swagger of an arrangement thanks again to a big beat and guitar chug, but the signs of that kind of sonic grandness, if not full-on grandiosity, abound. "Chicago Train" has distanced vocals and a lushly mournful string arrangement at the start, moving into hero-rock guitars that aren't "go nowhere" solos, and the whole is a full-bodied embrace of going big without regrets. "Albatross" may be the apotheosis of the whole approach, thanks to Olga Goreas' strong vocal performance and the whole pump-it-up, make-it-huge wallop becoming a powerful swoon, while her concluding turn on "The Lonely Moan," echoed words against a booming guitar burst before a final sweeping performance, also achieves great heights.

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