CD review: The Besnard Lakes – Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO

The band sounds like a grittier, Canadian version of Icelandic post-rock group Sigur Ros.

The Besnard Lakes’s fourth album, the impenetrably-titled Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO, picks up where their last albums left off, and carries that vibe even further. The band, founded by husband and wife team Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas, sounds like a grittier, Canadian version of Icelandic post-rock group Sigur Ros. The Besnard Lakes come off earthy, a little dirty, yet still substantially grandiose. This is music that you can latch onto; that you recognize as a band working together to create.

There are no tricks in their production. Where other groups might hide their individual elements within the wall of sound, the songs on Until in Excess… build up in layers, allowing the listener to slowly invest themselves in the sounds as they grow and multiply. The songs often begin small, with the reverb of a strummed electric guitar, the gentle hum of a synth, the hollow pounding of far-away drums, and either Lasek’s of Goreas’ voice swimming somewhere within them. Lasek’s falsetto has always been a hallmark of the band, and he definitely does not disappoint here. The songs then build and grow, rarely breaking from their down-tempo time signatures, but instead creating a sea of emotive and powerful noise that seems much more urgent and driving that it is.

Many of the songs on Until in Excess… forgo that catchy hook that lends itself easily to radio play, commercials, teenage melodrama television, and the end credit sequence of whatever latest episode of True Blood you unadvisedly watched. Even so, this is album based around moments. Scattered throughout the album there are a few unique and powerful moments that suddenly emerge from their respective songs, some of them unexpectedly (the chorus of Jace Laseks that break into an alternate-reality Doo Wop singalong near the end of And Her Eyes Were Painted Gold), and some of them as cathartic releases for what what’s been building up (a wavering X-Files-worthy electric guitar that hovers over pounding drums in the climax of The Specter). They’re the kind of moments that many bands try their damndest to force out, while The Besnard Lakes seem to toss them off effortlessly.

The Besnard Lakes play Spiritbar on Tuesday, June 25.

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