The Besnard Lakes - The Besnard Lakes Are The Divine Wind

by James Gerard Rating:6 Release Date:2017-02-24

The Besnard Lakes, one of Indie-Rock’s most ambitious bands, can admittedly be an acquired taste (a point that was well made when fellow Soundblab writer Jim Harris reviewed the band’s A Coliseum Complex Museum last year).  A sprawling, grandiose collection of epic songs, A Coliseum... found the band in familiar territory continuing to mine and refine their brand of psychedelia-infused, prog-tinged rock.  One year later and the band is about to release a couple of new songs with the aptly titledThe Besnard Lakes Are The Divine Wind.

According to their bandcamp page, these songs were written along with the rest of what would eventually comprise A Coliseum…, but the band felt that they just didn’t fit into the overall vision of the record.  While it’s difficult for these types of ‘from-the-same-session’ releases to escape the ‘leftovers’ tag,  ...Are The Divine Wind is the rare exception as these two songs stand among the best of what A Coliseum... had to offer.  It’s hard to imagine how these two songs could have made (or broken) an album that had only eight tracks to begin with, but irregardless this E.P. will be a welcome addition for fans.

The A-side “Laura Lee is a rare exercise in brevity for the band.  The song immediately launches with a wave of swirling cymbals and a circular guitar riff before giving way to a huge chorus.  About as close to a pop-song as The Besnard Lakes are going to get, “Laura Lee” is only betrayed by its somewhat muddy production which buries the otherwise catchy vocals beneath layers of reverb and fuzz.

“The Divine Wind” is much more in line with what you would expect from the band as the song unravels at a predictably tepid pace, riding a wave of synth and sparse vocals for the majority of the track before yielding to its final crescendo.  It’s quite simply The Besnard Lakes doing what they do.

So as far as singles go, The Besnard Lakes Are The Divine Wind is a success in that it does a good job of giving a sampling of the band’s sound while also giving fans a bit of something new.  But with all of that being said, I would definitely place this release in the ‘for fans only’ pile and/or tag it on the end of A Coliseum Complex Museum (where these two songs probably always belonged).

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