If you go by their album titles, The Besnard Lakes are a lot of things. The songwriting duo of Olga Goreas and her husband Jace Lasek broke through with an album of atmospheric psych-rock called The Besnard Lakes Are the Dark Horse — a name that rang true when it made its way onto the Polaris Prize 2007 shortlist. Their 2010 followup insisted instead that The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night, holding onto the darkness of the previous claim while expanding the grandeur of their evolving sound.
Their next few releases abandoned that naming scheme, so it took a full seven years before an EP provided another identity. Perhaps it was a nod to Lasek’s transcendent guitar solos or the band’s angelic harmonies, or to the almost religious fervour they inspire in their fans, who praise the band’s oblique narratives and impeccable production, but the 2017 declaration that The Besnard Lakes Are the Divine Wind certainly rang true.
That meteorological metaphor was updated once more on the band’s most recent release, 2021’s The Besnard Lakes Are the Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings, and once again the title captures their sound. Featuring their most epic songwriting to date, the album confirms that The Besnard Lakes are indeed a force of nature — immense, even a little ominous, but carrying the promise of catharsis.
Biography by Peter Hemminger