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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Besnard Lakes - The dark horses come up roaring on the rails, 7 Mar 2010
By 
Red on Black - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night (Audio CD)
4.5 stars

There are some bands who record albums so classic you sit back and wait for the thunderous applause to follow and then .... nothing. The Secret Machines stunning album "Ten Silver Drops" is a case in point and as such it reminds me of this brilliant new album by Montreal's The Besnard Lakes. Both bands specialise in what Mike Scott once called the "big music" and indeed the cannons, fire and red sky on the album cover are more than a pointer for what follows in this album. Olga Goreas and Jace Lasek are the husband and wife core of the Besnard Lakes and they produce vivid atmospheric rock, heavy on reverb but also with a real lightness of touch. Just check out the brilliant single "Albatross" with Goreas gorgeous vocal combined with a huge droning guitar backdrop. You melt when she sings "oh you showed me so much" and the heady days of Kevin Shields earth shattering work on "Sometimes" flood into your brain. A truly great song.

Their previous album the Besnard Lakes are Dark Horse contained fabulous shoegazer epics not least of all the showstoppers that are "Disaster" and "Devastation" which Gannon highlights in his excellent review. "Roaring" is more accessible than its predecessor and indeed seems to draw its underpinnings from further afield. Amazon is spot on in its detection of huge amounts of inspiration from fellow Canadian Neil Young on the epic seven minute plus anthem "Like the innocent, like the ocean part II". It builds and builds throughout into a soaring construct of guitar and wonderful harmonies, and when it concludes you press repeat.

Perhaps the most in your face rocker however is the "Glass Printer" which is far more surly than anything else on the album and not a particular favourite. The pace is slower on the gentle "Chicago Train" but much better for it. This song is a key highlight with the band showing off their near perfect Beach Boy style harmonies over a slow synth until around mid way the song lurches up a gear into a a building crescendo of reverb and swirling vocals. "And this is what we call progress" is alternatively a more straightforward pop song but none the worse for it with it thumping drums and almost surf like guitar.

My particular favourite is "The land of Living Skies part 2" when the great elements of this band come together to form and awe-inspiring whole which is also surprisingly deft and accessible. There are a couple of missteps on here but they don't amount to much. What will be interesting is whether Roaring Night sees them emerge from under the huge shadows cast by their Montreal contemporaries the Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene into the mainstream with magnificent third album of intense power and beauty. Is this then another classic destined for the "great lost album" pages of music mags? The answer of course is entirely up to you.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ... Are Becoming Ones To Watch (7/10), 18 Feb 2010
By 
Gannon (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night (Audio CD)
When the dust finally settled in Montreal after two straight years of its scene exploding, few bands were left truly unscathed away from the hype machine's glare. As with any scene there were true trailblazers, similarly also-rans, and the least said about the never-should-have-turned-ups the better. Happily, The Besnard Lakes found themselves resolutely in the former category. The epic and lightly psychedelic alt-rock found on 2007's ... Are The Dark Horse opulently swung from Grandaddy-gone-beefy hunting grounds to slow-rolling, Black Mountain-like jams.

In their current and third incarnation as ... The Roaring Night, The Besnard Lakes remain an if-it-ain't-broke collective led by the husband-and-wife efforts of Olga Goreas and Jace Lasek. Recorded at Lasek's own Breakglass Studios with a vintage, 1968 Neve germanium mixing console (as used to record portions of Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti), this latest album immediately inhabits a nostalgic, timeless space.

The second part of "Like The Ocean, Like The Innocent" opens with an pure, atmospheric vocal that bobs prettily atop the widescreen and controlled psych-rock. Guitar drones duly ebb and flow, and heavier riffs foam sporadically throughout its luxurious seven minutes. The first part of the same track is merely instrumental scene setting and together they could have sat perfectly unnoticed on the preceding album.

The ethereal beauty of "Chicago Train" is difficult to pin down, achingly forlorn, but greatly powerful as a late key change deviates it into more comfortably rocking waters. The lead single "Albatross" encroaches on shoegazing territory. Full of washing "oohs" and fuzzy guitars, it splits the difference between Mazzy Star's dream-pop and The Cocteau Twins' diaphanous sway. The toe-tapping stomp of "Light Up The Night" offers a strong close again in line with early Black Mountain work.

Whilst the odd drawn-out extension may feel aimless rather than epic, the odd lyric laboured, and while there may be no moments to rival the majestic power of ... The Dark Horse's "Devastation", ... Are The Roaring Night is nevertheless a solid riposte to the weight of expectation that it brought.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern rock classic, 17 Mar 2010
By 
Big Twink (Swansea, Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night (Audio CD)
It is strange how all the best and most interesting current rock bands are from across the Atlantic, considering the UK's musical legacy to the world.

After a three-year break, this Lp is the follow-up to '...are the dark horse', and for my money it's the best left-field rock Lp I've heard in quite a while. More groove-based and immediate than 'dark horse', there really isn't a bad track on here.

If you like your rock music to be intelligent, with a touch of My Bloody Valentine and Beach Boys thrown in for good measure, you could do worse than start here. Early contender for album of the year.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...who hopefully will not stay in the dark too long., 17 Mar 2010
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This review is from: The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night (Audio CD)
The Jagjaguwar label has put out some fantastic "alt Americana" over recent years, amongst them the awesome Black Mountain (see In The Future) and Okkervil River (see The Stage Names) as well as one of the critics choices of last year (annd rightly so) Bon Iver (For Emma Forever Ago if you need the link!), and this, the third offering from the Besnard Lakes is a wonderful addition to their canon, and evolves ever so slightly from their last offering The Besnard Lakes Are a Dark Horse.

Subtly and seamlessly moving from etheral beauty and mellow sounds, to pure wig out within a couple of chord sequences is no mean feat, but "the Lakes" make the transition a movement of beauty; it could so easily have been an awful mess. I can only agree with one of the other reviwers here at the time of writing, who makes parallels to both Mazzy Starr and The Cocteau Twins, particualrly on the grand Albatross, although there are hints back to both of these artists throughout the album.

It is an album, which works as a "collected whole" (as with both their previous albums; The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse and Volume 1) and warrants a full listen to from start to end in one sitting, with no iShuffling of tracks, as one suspects the beauty of the album as a whole would be lost. Anyone with an interest in Americana, Shoegazing, Psychedelic Rock, or indeed a love of just good music would not go wrong in purchasing this. I think I like it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer beauty, 4 Mar 2011
This review is from: The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night (Audio CD)
It's not often that you hear an album that knocks your socks off ... but this is it!

Listen to it the old fashioned way ... as a complete album, from start to finish, with no other distractions, and you'll get the real experience. Beautiful soundscapes, fresh vocals, and some of the best guitar riffs this side of "prog rock".

Even my teenage daughter liked it! Buy it ... it may be the closest you get to street cred!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Album of the year, 6 Sep 2010
This review is from: The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night (Audio CD)
If there has been a better album released in 2010 I am yet to hear it. Stunning
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good stuff, 17 Mar 2010
By 
Mike J. Wheeler (Kingswinford, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night (Audio CD)
I must admit The Besnard Lakes hadn't registered with me until recently. Complicated but I bought their last album a few weeks back as a prelude to seeing them live (I know....usually you listen to the music 'before' you decide to go see a band...however). I read a few reviews and wasn't sure but plumped for buying 'Dark Horse' anyway. I really enjoyed it I have to admit, though I thought it a bit up and down, mainly because I got the impression the band hadn't settled on any particular style as such. Therefore some of the tracks grabbed me, some didn't. One track on the last album , 'Devastation' stood out though. Truly a great track.

Anyway - to the present offering... On the first few listens I'd say i prefer this. It IS still a mish-mash of different styles/influences/ideas. I can hear loads of influences here - Hawkwind to Godspeed You! by way of My Bloody Valentine. This album does however, feel more coherent to me. They do like their guitar solos which I must admit are not something I'm genuinely keen on. Saying that, when they do throw in a solo it does have a genuine air to it. Guitar solos for me are always in danger of pushing a song towards sounding ... well 'spandexy' or if not that like some kind of hideous '70s corporate rock'. When Besnard Lakes do it, they avoid that trap. I have to say I prefer those songs with female vocals but all the songs are good on here. Standout track for me though has to be 'Albatross'.

Good stuff (8/10)
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5.0 out of 5 stars What a find!, 24 April 2013
By 
C. Owen (Stockport, Cheshire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I happened upon this album today by a decidedly random process of clicking on "customers also bought..." listings. If I didn't believe in serendipity I wouldn't do such things.

This album's a magnificent collection, almost worth it for the opening alone. It has "You're in for a fine trip!" stamped all over it. I've also noticed that they're appearing shortly at a venue near me (in the UK). Serendipity again.

So how come they are not decidedly famous by now, on the strength of music so good? I think it comes down to a pretty foolish and irrelevant reason: the band's name. I think the name is about the only thing that doesn't really do it for me, as a punter. It's a shocker if I'm right about that, isn't it! Who CARES what the band's called?!

Not sure which are my favourite tracks yet. Too soon to say, after only hours. The opening pair are magnificent. I also very much like "So this is what we call progress".

Lucky me. Lucky day.
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The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night
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