Written by Marc-Emile Dumont Poulin
After four albums well received, the post rock and shoegaze band The Besnard Lakes from Montreal, come with their fifth installment “A Coliseum Complex Museum.” Being new to The Besnard Lakes, here’s what I thought of the record.
The album kicks it in with the beautiful, charismatic and appealing overture “The Bray Road Beast”. A big and wild atmospheric, kind of euphoric intro that really works and lifts you somewhere into the heavens full of guitars sounds. The first song offers you the feeling that you might have a masterpiece coming ahead, but beware… appearances are deceptive.
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After an intro that offers us a taste of wonder and interest, things certainly lost that magic and fairy side pretty quickly (life’s rough you know) with the second track “Golden Lion.” The song is far from bad. It’s a strong, easy to digest, well-driven rock and roll number. Though, with such a blast in your face intro, the two songs don’t fit together very well. Yes, the tempo is the same, but the energy and atmosphere is different and a bit disappointing.
Things seem to go back to normal on the next track “Pressure of Plans”. The big atmospheric vibe hits us again, the synthesizer comes back from a quick smoke break, the roof is shaking and the chorus is catchy as hell. It’s all good! Also, the voice of Olga Goreas is beautiful but sadly buried by the enormous guitar sounds. Keep breathing Olga, we are with you on this one. A track that is a bit redundant, but still enjoyable and well written.
Redundant is a word that really comes into is own for the next segment. “Towers Sent her to Sheets of Sounds” is again a great rock and roll number with great guitars, catchy chorus and some stoner appeal but our material seems to be recycled by the band more and more. A great ecological effort, but not for the music business, folks!
Fortunately, we take a different turn and escape from the routine matrix with the next tune “The Plain Moon.” It is probably the most interesting and diverse song on the entire album. A good or a bad thing? With an eccentric structure, some explosive synthesizer sounds, distorted vocals that surround our hearing, a badass and confident guitar riff, and a chorus brought out from a surprising place. This one is a breath of fresh air and also a good song.
And if you thought we were on a good beat, “Necronomicon” gives us a big slap in the face, a reminder that life is indeed, an endless and cold routine. The bizarre and weird song title is just an excuse for trying to hide a monotonous and dull song without any real interest whatsoever. The song seems to be a wannabe intermission. Problem is, that the album lasts only 38 minutes. A song to be forgotten.
We go further downhill with “Nightingale”. Big guitars, chorus banged over and over again with the smell of déjà-vu. It’s getting old and definitively boring at this point. At least, somewhere in the middle, a little xylophone saves the day, but not for long. Can we change channels, folks? Where’s the remote?
“Tungsten 4 – The Refugee” — last song, already!? It starts off with a promising intention in spite of the competition that imposes the fantastic overture. But the more we go on, the more we’re getting that same old smell. Same recipes, extreme redundant moments, endless guitars solos, its god damn long, its stinks and bla bla bla.
In brief, “A Coliseum Complex Museum” is far from a great record, but also far from a bad record. It has a fantastic, polished mix, some great colorful guitars, simple and catchy songs, and a dreamy atmospheric vibe that works incredibly well. But the record itself suffers from a major wound of extreme redundancy that is poisonous, dangerous and boring to death. The album stands in the giant bowl of just O.K. Though, stoners should be satisfied.
The Besnard Lakes’ A Coliseum Complex Museum is out 1/22 on Jagjaguwar records. They’re playing in Montreal on February 19 at Theatre Plaza St. Hubert (6505 St Hubert). 9 p.m. Tickets $17/20 HERE.