Majestic, Alien Sounds Descend From The Besnard Lakes
The Besnard Lakes have a reputation for dwelling in cool fog. Their music is hazy and it slowly rolls along the surface. On their fourth album Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO the Montreal band continues its journey through feedback and reverb to places that are meditative and beautiful.
The band was founded by the married team of Jack Lasek and Olga Goreas who have been exploring shoegaze, post-rock and progressive rock at a glacial pace. They’ve composed film music, notably so for an interactive documentary titled Welcome to Pine Point. This makes a lot of sense considering how much their music sounds like a gorgeous wide-screen shot of something majestic and expertly framed.
Lasek is a co-founder of Breakglass Studios, a well respected production facility in Montreal, which is where this album was recorded. Musicians favor it for its collection of vintage analog gear. The sonic characteristics make the studio itself a featured instrument, here. The Smashing Pumpkins have been sighted as an early influence on this band, in that they took Phil Specter’s famous “wall of sound” and built a fortress, and with the Besnard Lakes, texture is so important. Some of them seem so thick that you can imagine clawing your fingernails across them.
The guitar work is heroic, but modestly so, with solos that leap up from the murky ground to elevate the music to the clouds.
There’s some vague, almost nonsensical ideas expressed that lyrically the album is portents told by cosmic or otherworldly spies, and with the way the vocals are buried in the songs they may as well be, but these voices as instruments work so well here, like they’re shinning a light in the direction of some great truth, and it’s up to anyone to figure out what that truth might be.
Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO is out now on Jagjaguwar.
You can interact with the National Film Board of Canada documentary Welcome to Pine Point here.