Agitated Atmosphere: The Besnard Lakes – …Are the Roaring Night

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as The Besnard Lakes.

It’s time to take a slight detour, though the terrain trampled by The Besnard Lakes happens to merge with much of the sounds Agitated Atmosphere cherishes. Despite having the fancy outlet and extra PR muscle of Jagjaguwar, the influences channeled by The Besnard Lakes is just as reliant on experimental styles as it is the reliable rock and pop of the 60s and 70s.

The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night is another jewel in an expanding Jagjaguwar catalog of futuristic throwbacks (Richard Swift, Oneida, and Akron/Family to name but a few). The blissed-out fuzz and hook-laden pop of …Are the Roaring Night is the sort of comfortable base for anyone interested in their own musical detour. After the album’s two-part opener, take the time to digest “Chicago Train,” as an upstanding example of accessible experimentation. Within its string-heavy melody is simplicity akin to Godley & Creme and yet strangely psychedelic before it abruptly turns into a classic rock march. The dalliances into psychedelia continue into “Albatross,” which introduces a layer of California cool found in the recent output from the likes of Ariel Pink and Noah Lennox. Though much of …Are the Roaring Night is filtered through the Jeff Lynne Guide to Classic Rock Production, the band never abandons their flirtations with the chaotic din of avant rock and pop.

Listen to “Albatross“:

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Album finale “The Lonely Moan” stands as the band’s highest testament of individuality among a sea of retro-fitted rock. The guitar hum, ghostly chimes, and melodic keyboard drone is not far removed from an underground overflowing with such markers. Don’t let the presentation fool you, The Besnard Lakes are just as adventurous as any basement, bedroom, and garage hermit playing with synthesizers, effects pedals, and bent circuitry. All you have to do is just let go…

Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist who also runs the webzine, Electronic Voice Phenomenon. He writes the Monday News Mash-Up for the KEXP Blog. You may follow him on Twitter.

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