Long-time stars of the Canadian indie-rock firmament, at The Besnard Lakes’ core is husband-and-wife duo Olga Goreas and Jace Lasek, creators of 2007’s …Are The Dark Horse album, an alternately intimate and grandiose set which clocked in at a svelte 45 minutes. With …Are the Roaring Night they delve deeper into the glittering soundscapes that have become synonymous with their sound; sacrificing something of the warmth that marked their previous work, they nonetheless emerge with a thoroughly impressive, coherent whole.
Opening in two parts with Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent, the ease and confidence on display is remarkable. Lacek’s falsetto spirals and dives over a tense, static fuzz which finally breaks into bracing power chords a few minutes in, heralding the arrival of Goreas’s echoing, husky vocals – the perfect foil to Lacek’s sharp, distinctive style.
It’s a sense of the elemental The Besnard Lakes aim for on …Are the Roaring Night, and for the most part they nail it. The mood is almost overwhelmingly sedate at times, but caterwauling highs bubble under throughout – peaks such as those found on Albatross may seem rare, but they’re all the more effective for it, delivered with the kind of gusto that peers such as Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene revel in.
The vision they present the listener is admittedly a dark one, perhaps best epitomised by its centrepiece: in Land of Living Skies, Goreas takes the spotlight with a tale of losing oneself to the vagaries of nature, swelling oceans and rugged landscapes forming the backdrop to – and manifestation of – deeply personal quandaries.
As it draws to a close, Light Up the Night constitutes the record’s most outright beautiful moment, washes of strings and piano surging towards a serene climax that does much to allay all the fear and confusion preceding, only for final track The Lonely Moan to recede in ghostly, suggestive whispers, indicating that for The Besnard Lakes, things aren’t that clear-cut after all. --James Skinner
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Besnard Lakes - Are The Roaring Night - cod:1618