Montreal prog/psych rockers The Besnard Lakes are back with a double-LP titled The Besnard Lakes Are the Last of the Great Thunderstorms Warnings.
For this 6th studio album the band, fronted by husband-wife duo Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas, plunges into the ideas of death and the afterlife following the passing of Lasek’s father in 2019. The actual album sides further embrace these notions bearing the titles of “Near Death,” “Death,” “After Death,” and “Life” respectively.
The album opens with “Blackstrap”, a rich, spacey palate pleaser laced with Pink Floyd-inspired flavouring.
Also of note is “Raindrops”, undoubtedly one of the the warmest songs on the album, with clear influences from the works of Brian Wilson that are rounded out by Lasek and Goreas’ comforting vocals.
However, it is the almost 18-minute title track (which also happens to be the album’s closing track) that makes the whole thing worthwhile — a beautifully layered composition that builds progressively and rounds out into a full-fledged anthem!
Clocking in at 72-minutes spread out over 9 tracks, the reality is The Besnard Lakes Are the Last of the Great Thunderstorms Warnings is not necessarily an easy listen but a rewarding one.
Here is what some music reviewers had to say about the album:
“Even the title track, with its daunting 17-minute run time, is a heady exultation of orchestral rock sweetness that gets most of its business done after six minutes, leaving the listener so blissed-out, they’re likely to just tingle quietly through the remaining 11 minutes of droning chords.”– ★★★★, Timothy Monger, AllMusic
“The Besnard Lakes might test the listener’s patience at times, but their commendable commitment to monumental scale and ambition often results in something thrillingly beautiful.”– ★★★½, Stephen Dalton, Louder
“It’s an album that will delight the band’s fanbase, and there are some powerful and profound moments with arrangements that are beyond the realms of what would be considered standard rock music.”– 7/10, Andy Von Pop, Under the Radar
“[…] but in the grandiosity and ambition of the production and arrangements, there’s a passionate, life-affirming feel to things. Even the tracks that do sound somewhat funereal, such as Christmas Can Wait, are colourful and engaging, thanks largely to atmospheric layers of synth and the interplay between Lasek’s falsetto and second singer Olga Goreas. An impressive return from an important band.”– ★★★★, Barnaby Smith, The Sydney Morning Herald
The Besnard Lakes’ The Besnard Lakes Are the Last of the Great Thunderstorms Warnings was released on January 19, 2021 and follows their 2016 album, A Coliseum Complex Museum. The album was recorded at The Rigaud Ranch and Breakglass Studios, mixed by Jace Lasek, and mastered by Philip Gosselin. More at thebesnardlakes.com.