The Besnard Lakes' Are the Roaring Night is heavy and dreamy and adequate all around

The Besnard Lakes are, in a way, everything, and their third album, Are the Roaring Night, is an illustration of this. The songs are dreamy and seem to expand outward, forever, carried by waves of atmospherics. Tracks are draped with falsetto vocals and snippets of distorted classic-rock guitar solos. Some songs build to reverb-drenched climaxes; others stick to a (comparatively) more rigid formula.

And actually, before I go on, let me say that’s one of the few problems of the album. Certain songs, like the first track proper “Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent, Pt. 2: The Innocent” (prog!) hover in some mid-tempo purgatory between fast-paced barn-burner and slow-growing ballad. The song never quite takes off enough to be the former, and there’s not enough of a release at the end to qualify as the latter.

But it’s a minor gripe, considering the songs stuck in this tempo trap are all fine. The issue is just that they could be so much more if they committed to an extreme, like, say, the penultimate track “Light Up the Night,” a song that opens up in the last few minutes. And not even into some distortion-fest (thought that would be sooo sick, brah), but into a well-deserved solo and Retribution Gospel Choir-esque soaring vocal finish.

The other songs throughout Are the Roaring Night serve as different facets of the band’s sound. The final song “The Lonely Moan” sticks to its pretty atmosphere and tender female vocals, while “Chicago Train” tends to focus on the strummed electric guitar side of things. There are elements of pop, dreamy shoegaze, hard rock, doo-wop, and more, and still somehow the band fuses them together — maybe under the umbrella of, again, “atmosphere” — exceptionally well. The album is very solid as a result, even if some songs are more brimming with potential than passion. For every game of spot-the-influence you might play while listening to And the Roaring Night, it’s not hard to remember that you’re still listening to something unquestionably The Besnard Lakes.

The Besnard Lakes – “Albatross” [MP3]

The Besnard Lakes – “Chicago Train” [MP3]

Purchase And the Roaring Night here

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