The Besnard Lakes - Are The Roaring Night LP

(Jagjaguwar, 2010)

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"You can only be the dark horse once. The Besnard Lakes may have been a (mostly) unknown quantity when they broke out to a wider audience in 2007, but they were also insiders of sorts-- guitarist/vocalist Jace Lasek had done production work with Montreal heavyweights Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown. Fitting of its title, Are the Dark Horse had a subtle, almost shy, quality-- on many songs, the group's quiet side slowly swelled into a symphony. On the follow-up, Are the Roaring Night, husband-and-wife duo Lasek and Olga Goreas map out a sonic landscape that follows the peaks and valleys of their previous work, but the terrain is more ragged.

An impressive array of crunchy guitar tones courses throughout the album, pushing forward two-part epics so the steady cycle of build and release doesn't become overwrought. Craftsmanship permeates the peels of reverb-laden melodies or the Loveless-like gyre of lead single "Albatross". Are the Roaring Night sounds richer, and while it doesn't rewrite the formula, it contains many small refinements to the band's songwriting and production skills. Outside of the twinkling, sub-orbital synths on the closer "The Lonely Moan", there isn't anything that would be considered a radical departure. But when you make the kind of entrance the Besnard Lakes did, there isn't much to fix." - Patrick Sisson for Pitchfork