The Besnard Lakes The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse

The Besnard LakesThe Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse
The Besnard Lakes may be a couple of years late in riding the wave of hysterical reverence for the Montreal music scene but they aren’t ready to concede that the city’s well of talent has been completely tapped. The six-piece have enlisted the help of some of their more notorious peers, with members of the Dears, Stars and Silver Mt. Zion contributing their talents to this sophomore record. Appropriately, it’s a dark, brooding behemoth cloaked in a viscous wall-of-sound production that’s every bit as epic-sounding as one would expect. The album melts down disparate influences such as shoegazer, Brian Wilson and good old fashioned classic rock and reanimates them through ornate orchestration. The dissonant melodic interplay between instruments and harmonies on "Disaster” and the soaring poignancy of "For Agent 13” are proof of how sumptuous extravagance can sound if done right. Sure, all this grandiosity is bound to yield the odd slip-up — the arena rock shredding that goes on unabated for two whole minutes at the end of "You Lied To Me” could have been neatly sidestepped — but it’s easy to overlook such lapses on a record that is this tastefully and meticulously crafted. Maybe we aren’t as tired of large bands from Montreal as we thought we were.

Did you have a vision of the songs being these huge, orchestral creations from the get-go? How much of a conscious decision was it to create this big sound? Singer Jace Lasek: No, not at all, it totally happened by luck. Our keyboard player Nicky Lizée is a composer, that’s pretty much how she makes her living. I gave her a CD with two songs on it and she ended up writing parts for both songs and the whole thing completely transformed into something else. At that point I was like, "fuck this, I’m going to start writing with that in mind” and we all started collaborating. The way she writes is perfect for the band — it’s kind of creepy and weird. Having her on board really helped take the record to the next level.

Do you have any expectations for how the record will be received? I never have any expectations; the fact that it’s even getting released is great. Of course I care if people like it but I am proud to have made something that is maybe fresh sounding that doesn’t fall into a category of "the new, hip thing.” There’s nothing that’s really hip about this record at all. It’s just a bunch of songs that we spent a lot of time and effort making. (Jagjaguwar/Outside)