The Besnard Lakes are good. They are able to create grand, atmospheric alternative rock music and disguise it within the indie genre which, for some reason these days, earns it more street cred. A big reason TBL is able to achieve this is the dreamy vocal pairing of the husband-and-wife team of Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas. Jace sounds like Brian Wilson in space while Olga’s ethereal croon is also retro and incredibly distinctive, complimenting her partner perfectly. They are one couple I would love to hear argue … if they sang their displeasure at each other.
This release, You Lived in the City, is a strange entry as it highlights the best of TBL in “We’re Here For A Good Time (Not A Long Time)” and “The Corner.” The songs have the same hazy, psychedelics and grandiose approach that drew me to the band initially. The downside is that it highlights only half of Besnard’s vocal tag-team with Goreas taking lead duties on both.
The other two songs are instrumentals and, although haunting and expansive, it reduces this EP to two songs and two slow, dirge-like instrumentals. “Holiday Sin” sounds like it could easily fit on the soundtrack to Kubrick’s 2001 and “Some Colour in the Sky” would be a great intro song for the band in concert, but the two are too similar to be on a four-track collection. The overarching objective could be another EP featuring Lasek so the two releases compliment each other, but the end goal is yet to be seen.
The real keeper here is “The Corner” – a big, powerful, driving tune of epic magnitude. The end of the previous instrumental bleeds seamlessly into “The Corner” and the song subtly builds on the lingering stream of synth lines. Then the driving drum beat is added with a crunchy bass progression until the layers of guitar distortion swirl in chaos around the sweet, calming anchor of Olga’s voice and the song fades quietly away.
Written for Suburban Apologist, Tampa’s Best Music Blog, 7.26.2011