BESNARD LAKES — A Coliseum Complex Museum

Album: A Coliseum Complex Museum

Artist: Besnard Lakes

Label: Jagjaguwar

Release Date: January 22, 2016

Besnard Lakes

The Upshot: Ineluctable melodies erupting from fuzz-crusted, feedback blurred roars: This band stirs a noisy pot of rock sounds, but vapors that escape smell delicious.


Five albums into their Beach Boys-with-fuzz-and-feedback career, the Besnard Lakes continue to conjure euphoria, underpinning octave-leaping, pulse-quickening choruses with the churn and friction of effected guitars. The band, formed around the husband and wife duo of Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas, does nothing on A Coliseum Complex Museum that it hasn’t before, but there is also no let-up in joy.

“Golden Lion,” the single off a late 2015 EP, is a shot of transcendent, arena-sized exultation, a hands-in-the-air finish of “You are the golden lion/you are the golden lion” etc. reverberating in cathedral high sonic spaces and, more importantly, in the giddy cavities of your chest. That the song achieves this transport without giving up much of its literal meaning (who, exactly, is a golden lion, and why do we care?) is a testament to its gut level power. If you listen to rock music to feel good (or at least feel better), this is your jam.

The Besnard Lakes have undergone a bit of transformation themselves since 2013’s Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO, with founding guitarist Richard White leaving the touring ensemble (though he still plays on three of these tracks) and Robbie MacArthur joining. The basic wall-of-sound aesthetic remains in place, however, the scrape of Goreas’ bass, the thud of Kevin Laing’s drums undergirding a vaulting pedal-altered sound. You can catch both guitarists in closing “Tungsten 4: the Refugee” White squalling out of the right speaker, MacArthur thundering from the left. The overall effect, however, of ineluctable melody erupting from fuzz-crusted, feedback blurred roar, is pretty much the same. This band stirs a noisy pot of rock sounds, but vapors that escape smell delicious.

DOWNLOAD: “Golden Lion”

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