! = recommended
* = all-ages
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The psych-rock wash of "Like The Ocean, Like the Innocent" (in 2 parts, no less) will soak you promptly as you begin to spin The Besnard Lakes newest, Are the Roaring Night. Montreal-born, the quartet sprawls, using tones and textures as a lulling device before they come blasting out, laggard and blistering in a swift gesture.
They first hit the US indie market with Are the Dark Horse, a bit druggy and redolent of Black Mountain. They've delved deeper now, and the live show - as evidenced on their TV debut on Jimmy Fallon - is something to behold (just watch the guy dancing behind the drummer, so impacted he occasionally tries to throw off the spirits with angled and mangled arm juts). And listen to how long they hold the melodic chug as the chorus comes in, before the modulation shifts down and the vocals go falsetto. It's good, guitar-sodden tension - thick rock made diaphonous. That opening voice in the backgroung of "Like the Ocean" (part 2!) triggers memories of Grandaddy's Sophtware Slump, disaffected and yet jumping all in for a participatory rock throwdown. It's the paradox of The Besnard Lakes: They wail across the guitar walls, falsetto here and then warmly mid-range, mostly taking all elements at a medium clip, never too fast (and very little is too slow).
Most will regard The Besnard Lakes as a presence from some earlier rock era, especially since they include a 2nd two-part tune on Are the Roaring Night, "Land of Living Skies," which is stoneresque, to be sure. Spaced drum rhythms, a reverb-tinged guitar hitting spongy notes to punctuate its sibling guitar's limber, semi-viscous chords. Delicious and munchies-inducing. Overall, every sung syllable is stretched, lengthened like taffy as the drums smack down time markers and the guitars make crunchy snakes around the whole majestic display. The best thing is that they pull it off epiphanically.
We'd love for you to witness it for yourself! Enter to win a pair of tickets to the Besnard Lakes show at The Crocodile on May 6 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org before the deadline of 10am on Tuesday April 27 with "BesnardRoar" in the subject line.