CD Review : Besnard Lakes “Are the Roaring Night”

The Montreal-based band The Besnard Lakes are no longer the dark horse they called themselves on their second studio album. They have emerged from the corners of the indie rock world and, on their 2010 release, The Besnard Lakes become the “roaring night.” Although the sounds on these two albums are remarkably similar, they have only strengthened and solidified their specific style. They experiment with mixes of soothing harmonies and ethereal sounds, inspired by the grand forces of nature, like the remote lake in Saskatchewan from which the band draws its name.

The product of husband and wife team Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas, Are The Roaring Night is made up of 10 atmospheric songs which at times quiver with the layers of fuzzy guitars and gentle harmonies, or explode into bursts of bold melodies and sounds. “Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent” and “Land of the Living Skies” are two-part songs, both epic ballads where Goreas’ voice is delicately layered with Lasek’s, who, alongside Richard White, is also responsible for the strong guitar riffs. Kevin Laing provides a steady rhythm on drums, tempered with surprising explosions here and there. There is a definite classic rock influence on these songs, although the album is remarkably fresh sounding.

“Chicago Train” is a fuzzy song that sounds almost disorienting amongst the choral vocals and string/flute accompaniment. The orchestral sound of Are the Roaring Night compliments and deepens the band experiments with pacing. Slow introductions rise with subtle vocals and are heightened by harmonies until they peak into a wall of sound. This effect was also felt on 2007’s
The Besnard Lakes are the Dark tracks like “And You Lied to Me,” where the slow build explodes into a frenzied mashing of electric guitar riffs and solid drumming. The Roaring Night continues in this vein; individual songs dip and peak as they seamlessly flow into one another.

In sum, this album is a refinement of the Besnard Lakes’ particular musical vision, rather than a reworked version of their successful second album. Are the Roaring Night gently ebbs and flows and, every once and a while, builds into a tsunami of sound.

4 stars out of 5