Album Review: The Besnard Lakes – A Coliseum Complex Museum

The Besnard Lakes sound like a cloudburst in the middle of an emotional breakdown. Absolute beauty in the midst of some psychic turmoil. Towering melody and cavernousbesnard album harmonies ride on psychedelic riffs and proper rock and roll drum bashing. Ever since the very beginning back in 2003 the Montreal-based husband and wife team of Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas have mined, along with like-minded friends and musicians, the core of psychedelic, pop, and rock and roll music. The results are found within the crystalline, hallucinogenic, and galactically beautiful songs that show up on albums like The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse, The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night, and Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO. The Besnard Lakes have returned with the dreamy and psychedelic A Coliseum Complex Museum, further opening the door to some magical musical realm that only opens when Lasek and Goreas commit music to tape.

“The Bray Road Beast” shimmers and flutters like fragile light through the crack of a door before a sense of uneasiness comes through all the golden haze and heavenly warmth. It’s a perfect way to open A Colisum Complex Museum. A statement of grandiose, druggy enchantment. Like C.S. Lewis on a grand LSD trip. “Golden Lion” is a single if I’ve ever heard one. It’s as if Carl Wilson recorded a record with the Raspberries in 1974 and it was produced by Phil Spector.”Pressure of Our Plans” is the track here that encapsulates all those things that make The Besnard Lakes so unique and wonderful. Soaring vocals, wavering, quivering guitar lines that slither into your ears like a musical serpent, subliminal melodies that lurk just under the surface, and an overwhelming sense of nostalgia. There’s that feeling that you’ve heard this song, a long time ago in some strange, sweaty, hallucinogenic circumstance. “Towers Sent to Her Sheets of Sound” is cavernous psych pop with a touch of proggy headiness for good measure. There’s such an amazing balance of anthem and outsider here. The vocals pull you in while a barrage of noise and dissonance hides just under those silken sheets of sound. “Necronomicon” seems to appear from some dense haze like some ghostly ship just off the shore. A nuanced, sleepy song that carries you along it’s compact journey.

The Besnard Lakes bring forth these colorful, wonderful, but mildly unnerving worlds that once the song ends you leave behind but can never quite forget. “Nightingale” encapsulates one of those worlds; dark skies overhead with a blinding line of a horizon in the distant. Something melancholy and something desperate lingers in the songs’s notes. “Tungsten 4: The Refugee” sums up this album wonderfully, with a mix of classic rock riffage and power pop bliss.

The Besnard Lakes are an island unto themselves. No one is making music like them. No one seems to want to take the time and make something this dense and beautiful anymore. A Coliseum Complex Museum is not a drastic change for The Besnard Lakes, and we should be very happy about that.(A Coliseum Complex Museum will be released on January 22nd via Jagjaguwar)

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