The Besnard Lakes might be the most underrated band still bombing. Maybe you aren’t aware of the Canadian quartet. That’s not entirely your fault. They haven’t been entirely prolific, releasing two albums in the last five years, doing a few US tours, and refusing to dial into any evanescent notions of the zeitgeist. There is nothing fashionable about them. No emotional bro-core nostalgia, R&B fusion, or American Apparel art school synthesizers. They are anchored by a married Montreal couple who like to write loose concept albums about spies and UFOs. They tour with a smoke machine and deafening guitars and navigate the fog between Fleetwood Mac and Pink Floyd. They aren’t about to be the next contestant on your Tumblr screen.
Their first album was titled: Besnard Lakes are the Dark Horse and the description was fitting. Jace Lasek owns a studio that recorded many of the great Canadian indie records from the middle part of the last decade. Finally, he opted to take the reins himself (if you didn’t think a bad equine pun was coming, you are mistaken). For his new record, slated to drop on Jagjaguwar in April, he’s acquired Spencer Krug (formerly of Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown) to help beef up his band,. If you know anything about me, this is like finding the Contra code.
And “People of the Sticks” has its own up down, left right combinations. The drums kick in hard as hornets. Guitars flare. The atmosphere builds until you feel like you’re on a glacier in Alaska, surrounded by craggy frozen mountains, ancient water slowly unfreezing, and vocals that cut through through high beams of cold sun. Maybe the metaphor is overwrought, but this is the thing about Besnard Lakes, they tap into some weird feeling of immensity. Spectral plains and fossil remains. Music to drive and dive to. I don’t even care whether they’re singing about spies or water slides. When the guitar crescendo and Olga Goreas’ plaintive wail start to combine, I am taken somewhere else entirely. This is what I want from my music. This band couldn’t have returned soon enough.