Early in 2016, The Besnard Lakes released their finest album to date, the magisterial A Coliseum Complex Museum and toured worldwide throughout the following months. Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas, the couple at the heart of the band, had spent the previous summer on their annual retreat to their namesake Besnard Lake. In a place with so much personal significance, they spent time writing the music that was to form the album. Culling the tracks down to an album proved a difficult task and inevitably there were tracks they loved that just didn't quite fit with the overall album.
So it is with delight that almost exactly a year on, the band are able to release this 12" of two brand new, exclusive tracks written and recorded at the same time as the album. "Laura Lee" is a sibling track to the album's illustrious first single, "The Golden Lion" - spacious reverb-y drums echo around an almost sci-fi vocal line sung by Olga Goreas. Meanwhile, the title track "The Divine Wind" is the Besnard Lakes at their expansive, psychedelic best: a sustained keyboard building through to a bombastic coda, complete with Lasek's unmistakable falsetto.
If you ever needed a reminder of just how unique, beautiful and far-reaching this band is, then The Besnard Lakes Are the Divine Wind delivers. They’ll be on tour on the west coast of North America in December and worldwide throughout 2017.
Unique among their furrowed brow peers, The Besnard Lakes are unafraid to marry textured, questing headphone sonics to the honeyed pleasure of radio hits past: the rapture of My Bloody Valentine entwined with the romance of Fleetwood Mac. Imagine dreamy Beach House riding Led Zeppelin dynamics, with unabashedly androgynous vocal harmonies.
Channelling their obsessions with the paranormal as well as the dark arts, A Coliseum Complex Museum is populated by cryptozoological creatures (The Bray Road Beast, Golden Lion) while also luxuriating in natural phenomena and beauty (The Plain Moon, Nightingale). These themes are sincere yet good-humoured. The LP's title jokily refers to a landmark-heavy road sign spotted on tour in Texas, the varied emotional impulses within reflected by its environmentally warped artwork.
With Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO, The Besnard Lakes create a distinct and dreamy headspace, an enigmatic and somehow familiar placelessness. It happens in such a way that both the close and casual listener find themselves immersed in the generous sonic vision, one moment as timeless as the next.
Songs for the documentary Welcome to Pine Point came to fruition after Michael Simons, one of its creative directors and a longtime friend of The Besnard Lakes' Jace Lasek, told the band about this web-based project he was working on — about a mining town that had been abandoned in northern Canada —and asked if the band would be interested in providing some music for it. Simons also asked if the band would cover "We're Here for a Good Time (Not a Long Time)" by Canadian rock band Trooper. Herewith is their interpretation available for the first time as physical media. "The Corner" is one of two songs written for the end credits of the film "Memories Corner". This is the song that wasn't chosen. Also a Besnard Lakes rarity, this song is available for the first and only time on You Live in the City.
"Special thanks to: Audrey Fouche, the director of Memories Corner, and its producers; Welcome to Pine Point creators Michael Simons and Paul Shoebridge and the National Film Board of Canada. These projects were both absolutely a pleasure to work on, and we hope you, dear listeners, enjoy these offerings." — The Besnard Lakes
There is a war now. The message has been sent through short wave in code. The Besnard Lakes twisting chronicle, or fever dream, of spies, double agents, novelists and aspiring rock gods has turned violent. Loyalty, dishonor, love, hatred all seen through the eyes of two spies, fighting a war that may not be real. One follows the other as they receive coded messages and spread destruction.The city is burning, and it's to the benefit of music obsessives everywhere. Once again, the husband-and-wife duo of Olga Goreas and Jace Lasek has crafted a majestic, sprawling vision of guitar bombast and captivating pop experiments. With the aid of Besnard members Kevin Laing on drums and Richard White on guitar, The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night is a dense, ambitious recording, experimenting, as always, with the studio as instrument.
The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night calls upon the influence of ELO and finer parts of the Alan Parsons Project in its orchestration. Still helped by the Ghost of Beach Boys Past, the album is more Dennis Wilson than Brian, and more Peter Green Fleetwood Mac than Lindsay Buckingham. The album is a dark bliss-out that folds the eerie guitar epics of the Montreal band's breakthrough into a wall of affected drones and atmospherics, but with a toughened immediacy and grit that gives the form a much-needed shove over the cliffs, making for a haunting, provocative swan dive into the crushing tide.
A standout track and the first single from Montreal's The Besnard Lakes' upcoming longplayer, The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night, "Albatross" has all the swagger of a Stevie Nicks-led Fleetwood Mac classic or Roy Orbison reimagined as a rollicking, snakeskin-booted Mazzy Star -- dousing it all in gas and throwing the match as we hear its tale of Vancouver's skid row and its inhabitants.
On the flip we find "Four Long Lines," a non-album cut that not so much exists within the dark grooves of the vinyl as it does float just above the stereo, embodying the extraterrestrial encounter the song cryptically details. "Saw an alien/On the street/At dawn...Saw Aliens/In the sky/Called out to them, " breathes Jace Lasek's otherworldly falsetto, which stays just beyond definition skating on top of what could be a basement-tape lost cut from Eno's Another Green World.
Volume I" is the debut album by the Besnard Lakes, that preceded their recent opus "The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse" which was released on Jagjaguwar in early 2007. "Volume I" was originally released in 2004, and, at the time, The Besnard Lakes were comprised only of husband-and-wife team Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas. The Besnard Lakes have just recently become critical darlings, on the strength of their live performances throughout North America and Europe, as well as with their second full-length record "The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse", which quickly made it onto numerous and budding best-albums-of-the-year short-lists by a whole range of music-listening pedigree -- critics, casual and not-so-casual rock listeners, garden variety pop fans, and headphone junkies. Carrying the Breakglass label name, "Volume I" is distributed throughout the world with the help of Jagjaguwar.
In early 2007, the Besnard Lakes released a full-length album on Jagjaguwar that quickly made it onto numerous and budding best-albums-of-the-year short-lists by a whole range of music-listening pedigree. Now these inspired Montrealers continue what they've started, re-stoking the flames and releasing two additional tracks. Side A is "Casino Nanaimo", a place where repetitive sound and lights engulf addicted gamblers all vying for space on the eternal wheel of fortune. And then there is side B, "Devastation (alternate version)", the unedited and original straight-to-two-track nine-minute version, recorded live-off-the-floor at Breakglass Studios.
Rich with Beach Boys style harmonies, Roy Orbison reverbs and orchestra, Pink Floyd's pacing and Freddy Mercury's falsetto, The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse is a luxurious foray into sound and music. This is the second record by The Besnard Lakes, Montrealers by way of Western Canada. Their independently released previous record, Volume I, came out in 2004, and it was noticed by critics but was largely overlooked by the public at large. On both records, The Besnard Lakes have shown that they are masters of finely-honed experimental pop songs that invoke the eerie Lynchian setting as aided and abetted by the music of Julee Cruise. But, on The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse, the band throws into the mix a mad dash of Fleetwood Mac proportioned swagger and ambition. Not so incidentally, the Besnard Lakes have created a masterpiece that will resonate within all quarters, amongst critics, casual and not-so-casual rock listeners, garden variety pop fans and headphone junkies.