Besnard Lakes

Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO

In the afterglow of Arcade Fire’s success, Besnard Lakes featured prominently on the 2007 NME compilation Canadian Blast: The Sound of the New Canada Scene. They instantly sounded like the ethereal real deal, a band who could endure and thrive even in the most rarefied of atmospheres.

The positive and soaring fourth album Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO is the sun seeking yang to the darker yin of The Flaming Lips’ Steven Drozd-penned apocalyptica on The Terror. The squally drama recalls the psych-fuelled dreamscape of its obvious forebears from the early 4AD roster, Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil even the Throwing Muses at times.

Given that The Besnard Lakes are the husband and wife team of Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas their ability to harmonise reinvigorates your faith in human nature. And such are these harmonies it didn’t surprise me to learn that Lasek is a big fan of Brian Wilson, since The Beach Boys loom large over a wall of sound that seems transmitted in from another stratosphere, filtered through a membrane of cosmic psychosis. In ‘The Specter’ Lasek intones you to close your eyes, and as you do a sun dappled sound permeates through your eyelids only for the following song ‘At Midnight’ to predict the pestilence of a rain for all eternity. Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO has lofty ambitions of space on one hand, and a great deal of heart and soul to keep it simultaneously grounded on the other.

We’re told that the album represents the “story of the introspection of the human spirit during prophetic times featuring a spy or two, maybe more”. But even if it doesn’t readily unpick or inform the many nuances of tracks like ’46 Satires’ or ‘And Her Eyes Were Painted Gold’ it is certainly adds to what is an intriguing, enthralling and immersive experience.

If cosmic lunacy is the rock on which the album is built, then ‘People On The Sticks’ is its Olympus Mons, a high zenith moment, with drama, pathos and poise in spades. Coming on like ‘Soon’ it could easily stand alongside anything on MBV’s Loveless – high praise indeed. The video for the hook-infused ‘People On The Sticks’ features a gymnast being given mind-bending and performance-enhancing Mentos by a weirdy beardy Svengali figure, and the trip becomes very peculiar. This is both a telling view into their minds and the balance upon which the sound of The Besnard Lakes sits, teetering on the brink of calm and stormy malevolence.

The Quietus Digest

Sign up for our free Friday email newsletter.

Support The Quietus

Our journalism is funded by our readers. Become a subscriber today to help champion our writing, plus enjoy bonus essays, podcasts, playlists and music downloads.

Support & Subscribe Today