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Old 06-29-2017, 11:33 AM   #1
Undertoad
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The Besnard Lakes are the greatest band ever

I can no longer stand quiet. I am here to report that The Besnard Lakes are the finest musical combo in all the lands.

This band has taken me by force, and I have been listening to little else for the last month. I don't think anyone else will like it though...! Hard to describe...

Think experimental. Think psychedelic fuzz guitar, combined with Beach Boys-level vocals and harmonies, with poetically incomprehensible lyrics, and everything run through an effects rack from hell. Astoundingly original. Stunningly beautiful and powerful like a mountain lake landscape. Sometimes hard to digest, but so worth it.

To me, they are basically the new Floyd -- something I will spend hours just listening to, catching all the little details and changes. Entire albums that have a theme, work as a whole and capture a mood. But that's to me, I can't say whether what they do will be effective on anyone else!!

The best introductions, I think, are

"Disaster" - here the Beach Boys aspect is so direct that they don't dare try to avoid it, they go straight AT it, and then twist it. At one point, the Beach Boys harmonies are all MONO, making a point of it -- the Beach Boys were kind of famously mono -- while orchestral stings and fuzz guitar attack us from the left and right. It welcomes headphone listening, because this band is all about creating a sonic atmosphere. Two-thirds of the way through the song, the basic themes crush together, counterpointing each other. And then, holy crap, flutes! It is GENIUS GENIUS GENIUS



"Albatross" - kind of a good overall introduction, here the song is more straight-forward and oriented in reverse - the beautiful harmonies augment the powerful fuzzy alt-rockish song. At 3:09 she sings "And I have to admit, things got weird for a bit" and the whole things crashes into an "everyone playing at once" cacophony... which resolves into a beautiful indie pop harmonies; and suddenly baritone brass joins in the mix; are you kidding me? There's never been anything like this.



"Laura Lee" - the latest single, once again it feels like an alt-rockish sort of thing, but you know how part of the Brian Wilson notoriety is "using the studio as an instrument"" Well this band does that in spades (witness the strings and brass draped over the other songs), but here they're just using rock instruments... but they're using the effects rack as an instrument.

...and it's crazy! Cymbals are coated with phase shifter; harmonies in the chorus are so processed they sort of resemble organ parts. Everything's got a ton of reverb; the drums are cannons, and the guitars are all chime-y. In typical Besnard fashion, at 2:15 the song nearly morphs into a different song. Vocals in the second half are put through deep tremolo, good lord!

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Old 06-30-2017, 01:27 AM   #2
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I know I'm going to hate this. But I'm going to listen anyway.
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Old 06-30-2017, 01:58 AM   #3
lumberjim
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I listened to the first two. Liked the second one better. I did get headphones on, per your advice, and i wished that they had just let the fuzzed guitar ring around the oval path the melody was tracking. The abrupt cessation was jarring to me. Very beach boys, laid over something. Not Floyd. But yeah.

Btw, you are to song description what elspode is to the eulogy.

Laura Lee was good. Thick and shimmering. Like a song you'd hear watching movie credits. I'll have to try them while I work. Thanks yo.
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Old 06-30-2017, 02:01 AM   #4
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I really enjoyed Disaster. Contemplative. Somewhat nostalgic.

The other two sort of wore me out. I'm not a fan of that synth/fuzzy sound when it is the focal point. (That prolly has more to do with my slight hearing loss, tho)I like what they are doing though and the artwork resonates well with the music's feel. Also, I prefer the male vocal over the womens...but maybe I need to hear more of her to see if her range expands.
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Old 06-30-2017, 07:19 AM   #5
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downloading to phone, we shall see
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Old 06-30-2017, 11:47 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lumberjim View Post
Btw, you are to song description what elspode is to the eulogy.
I thought so too!

Toad should review for Rolling Stone. Or at least AllMusic.com.

I tried all three. He hit the first one on the head. VERY Beach Boys, and like Jim said, "laid over...something". None were my cup of tea, but, I see where ppl would like it. Listenable. Might try the 'phones.
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Old 06-30-2017, 01:16 PM   #7
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Thanks y'all, I have thought long and hard about the group and how to describe them. It's really difficult. Half indie-pop half psychedelic? Is this My Bloody Valentine plus 60's AM radio?

Floyd doesn't cover it, except that Floyd were all sonically-oriented, and didn't really care about showing off chops and talent. Gilmour is talented but never became a chops-oriented guitar-hero speed demon; Wright was extremely talented at developing chords, but never played anything showy, like Keith Emerson. Waters was and is a below-average bass player. But if they played these songs that are not so hard to play, why were they so effective?
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Old 06-30-2017, 02:01 PM   #8
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Plus, when you describe something as Floyd, everybody has a different impression of what that means.

The Besnard Lakes are Echoes on "Meddle", mixed with the slow deliberate pace of "Wish You Were Here" and moments of "A Momentary Lapse of Reason". They would have nothing in common with "The Wall".
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Old 06-30-2017, 02:15 PM   #9
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Here are The Besnard Lakes at their absolute Floyd-iest. This is what I mean by they are Floyd. The first 2 minutes are just slowly setting the scene, starting with an incomprehensible synth sound, distant wailing solo guitar, and sound effects. It takes until 2:05 for the guy to break in with an immensely powerful falsetto. At 3:33 the falsetto drops down into his regular voice with a crazy transition into the meat of the song.

They took 3:33 just to set things up. Nobody does that anymore. We are in an on-demand society, where everything is a click away, everyone is ADHD, Hollywood films are cut like BAM BAM BAM; and everybody listens to songs and nobody listens to albums;

...and The Besnard Lakes are asking you to patiently wait 3:33 while they set up the pins they are going to knock down.

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Old 06-30-2017, 02:48 PM   #10
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Yes Floyd all over it. Nice!

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Old 06-30-2017, 03:40 PM   #11
Griff
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I don't generally go for modern studio work but that isn't bad.
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