Thursday, April 11, 2013

REVIEW: The Besnard Lakes - Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO

Besnard Lakes plays a haunting style of rock, and have for a while - on their latest, Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO, they aren't varying far from their established style. Good thing, because we need more of this stuff. They move back and forth between angelic female vocal choruses and male vocal harmonies that approach Beach Boys-level. Behind, around and under it all, they're featuring guitars, thundering bass rhythms and some beautiful, expansive keyboards and synths. From the band's own description of the record: "The story of the album unfolds its introspection on the endurance of the human spirit during prophetic times as told by a spy or two, maybe more."

I first heard them in 2010, and theirs was one of the earliest posts on this blog. That album was The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night. They are a wonderful example of a band that is a studio creation and uses the studio to keep experimenting and improving their sound. It's a husband and wife team, Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas, along with Kevin Laing and Richard White. This album also features contributions by Moonface's Spencer Krug and Mike Bigelow, Sarah Page (harpist with The Barr Brothers), Monica Guenter (viola) and the Fifth String Liberation Singers' Choir. Lasek's guitar work is particularly wonderful - in places it's positively reminiscent of David Gilmour.

Check out "Colour Yr Lights In" - for examples of the vocal harmonies, the guitar work (including a little bit of surf reverb) and the way they weave it all together:

I doubt you want to read any more of my thoughts on this record (which saves me a trip to the thesaurus to find synonyms for "ethereal") - suffice to say I'm crazy about it, and hear new things to like on each subsequent listen. I especially like the way they are able to merge sounds (vocals, synths, bass and guitar lines) together for periods of time, then subtly raise one or another of them above the mix, only to pull it back in.

Video for "People of the Sticks":

The record was released last week (Apr. 2) on Jagjaguwar Records.

They've got a lot of traveling planned - see below for your opportunity to hear them live:

04/11/13 Quebec City, QC - Le Cercle
04/13/13 Montreal , QC - Cabaret du Mile End
04/18/13 Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop w/ SUUNS
04/19/13 Grand Rapids, MI - The Pyramid Scheme w/ SUUNS
04/20/13 Chicago, IL - Schubas Tavern w/ SUUNS
04/21/13 DeKalb, IL - Otto's Nightclub w/ SUUNS
04/22/13 Bloomington, IN - The Bishop w/ SUUNS
04/23/13 St. Louis, MO - Firebird w/ SUUNS
04/24/13 Fayetteville, AR - J.R.'s Lightbulb Co w/ Suuns
04/25/13 Dallas, TX - Club DaDa w/ SUUNS & Black Mountain
04/26/13 Austin, TX - Austin Psych Fest
04/27/13 Houston, TX - Rudyard's BUY TICKETS
04/29/13 Atlanta, GA - The Earl
04/30/13 Charleston, SC - The Pourhouse BUY TICKETS
05/01/13 Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506
05/02/13 Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
05/03/13 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
05/04/13 Cambridge, MA - Middle East Downstairs
05/14/13 Lund, SE - Mejeriet
05/15/13 Stockholm, SE - Debaser Slussen
05/16/13 Gothenburg, SE - Pusterviksbaren
05/17/13 Copenhagen, DK - Stengade
05/19/13 Groningen, NL - Vera
05/21/13 Amsterdam, NL - Paradiso
05/22/13 Bristol, UK - Fleece n Firkin
05/23/13 Manchester, UK - Ruby Lounge
05/24/13 Glasgow, UK - Stereo
05/25/13 Leeds, UK - Brudenell Social Club
05/26/13 Birmingham, UK - Hare & Hounds
05/27/13 Brighton, UK - Komedia
05/28/13 London, UK - The Garage
05/29/13 Paris, FR - La Fleche d'Or
05/30/13 Nantes, FR - Stereolux
06/01/13 Marseille, FR - Le Poste a Galene
06/02/13 Toulouse, FR - Le Dynamo
06/04/13 Lyon, FR - Le Sonic
06/05/13 Strasbourg, FR - La Laiterie
06/07/13 Zurich, CH - Rote Fabrik
06/08/13 Koln, DE - Blue Shell
06/09/13 Berlin, DE - Monarch
06/10/13 Munich, DE - Atomic Cafe

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