REVIEW: BESNARD LAKES AT BRISTOL THEKLA (21/11/11)
Suuns enter the stage drowning it in in downbeat electronic drones, drawing on the kind of atmospherics which Primal Scream tried to use on XTRMNTR. Guitars sounded, at points, icy-thin, as if the are being played bouncing off the surface of a frozen lake. With clunking beats generating a trance like mood that definitely gets me on the hop as i can feel my limbs moving with every clunk or clacking sound, there is natural groove to what they do.Littering every little tweak with even more guitars and Rapture-esque vocals that build into a bracing wall of psychedelia, every tempo change makes me feel like I am on a fairground ride.
Are you ready for the weirdness? Yes? Well, welcome yourself to Besnard Lakes, a band who over the past 10 years or so, have prided themselves on their warm fuzzy psychedelia. Taking on influences from the likes of Pink Floyd, Flaming Lips, Grandaddy and even a little bit of the Beach Boys, mixing in their own alternative take. Its the kind of music that would perfectly bring the sun out. Interplaying male and female vocals create an almost 60’s melancholic style, with fuzzy guitars and well paced rhythms, synths ride into a high state of visual stimulation for me – the kind of visuals that are reminiscent of early Disney cartoons, including a smiley-faced sun munching on everybody and everything in sight. These images are generated by the warmth in the sound that the band has so skilfully created.
Besnard Lakes caress people with the warmth, their fuzzy logic guitars sounds and mind-stretching rock wig outs that almost teeter into the prog side of rock, before dropping into wham-my bars of colourfully cultivated petals, They look really at ease on-stage, with husband and wife combo Jace Lasek and Olga Gorveas. who set about with a pretty stoned sounding melodies. There are very few pauses in the set apart from when tuning up their guitars or to joke with the audience, but Jace did check that I was alright because I felt I had something in my chest that was causing me to cough, and to be honest, i was making the kind of noise a guttermouth drain would make. They were joking about with the audience about playing a cover of Wild Thing and they just seemed to breeze with smiles and generate a cheery atmosphere.
Everything felt like it was done with a minimum of fuss, as Jace Lasek’s vocals wavered with the sort of falsetto frequencies hardly ever achieved by male vocalists. Along with his wife and Rich White, Jace holds down dreamlike vocal harmony, which generates an almost Brian Wilson esque subdued effect. Interlocking guitar riffs build up many textures creating a bird on the wire feeling – leaving me in suspense, dangling in the air. Disaster sounds like it wouldnt be out of place on Pet Sounds, and the moments when Olga takes the lead vocals they almost veer towards a Cocteau Twins style of shoegaze just adding bigger sounding guitars to take it away in a more imaginative way.
I constantly feel like as if a wire mesh is plastered across my face, greens and lilacs spread across my face. It is really effective in the fact that the grooves rarely change. Nor do they really need to change, its a formula that they seem to bake well – leaving everyone in a state of super-baked smiles. Just beautiful.
Words: Jeffrey Johns
Photo: Laura Williams
by 247 Magazine