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The Besnard Lakes, ‘The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night’ (Album Review)


Patience isn’t just a virtue, it can be absolutely transcendent. With its long introductions and songs that gently unfold before rolling over the listener like a tsunami, “The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night” (Jagjaguwar) is all about patience and pay-off.

The Montreal band’s second album, the 2007 release “The Besnard Lakes are the Dark Horse,” established the group’s ambitious mix of orchestral pop and guitar-heavy rock, a marriage of Brian Wilson-like splendor and My Bloody Valentine-worthy roar. On the follow-up, the blend of those two seemingly incompatible styles is even more seamless and refined. The band manages to take its time without ever sounding slack. If the lyrics are a bonfire of earthly anxiety, the music shoots for the skies.

Both “Land of the Living Skies” and “Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent” are two-part epics that build with expertly orchestrated force. “Chicago Train” opens in fragile beauty, a far-off voice rising like a wordless siren over doleful strings, then shifts into chugging guitar rock. “Albatross” sets Olga Goreas’ pleas in a womb of woozy guitars, falsetto harmonies and regal trumpets. “Light up the Night” turns cataclysm into a hymn.

Goreas and husband Jace Lasek cowrote, coproduced and performed most of the album, with assistance from drummer Kevin Laing and guitarist Richard White. Right now no one is making music this grand, this big, this moving with so much assurance.