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A Coliseum Complex Museum

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Album Review

There are five musicians in the Besnard Lakes, but it sounds like some sort of pop orchestra was on hand to record the group's fifth full-length album, 2016's A Coliseum Complex Museum. The scope of this music is vast, combining the melodic angles of indie pop with the grand scale ambitions of prog rock, and group founders Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas are determined to make the most of it, filling every nook and cranny of these songs with banks of guitars, keyboards, percussion, and massed vocals, until the music takes on the shape of a vast ship at sea, moving deliberately but with a strong sense of purpose through choppy waters in the chilly nighttime. And if that all sounds a bit much, well, that's just how the Besnard Lakes do things, and they do them well. A Coliseum Complex Museum doesn't just sound big, it makes genuine melodic sense out of its multi-tracked aural landscapes (Lasek owns the studio where they record, which makes their level of sonic perfectionism affordable), and while the lyrics for the eight songs on hand don't really cohere into a thematic whole, the recurring theme of people in transit fits in with the music's broad sense of wanderlust. And as much as this music towers over the listener, there's a modest humanity in Lasek's lead vocals that helps this album keep one foot in the real world. A Coliseum Complex Museum is further proof that the Besnard Lakes are a band with big ideas and real vision, and just as importantly, they have the talent and focus to makes those ideas into something worth hearing.

Customer Reviews


So some early reviews haven't been stellar (Pitchfork, COS) with some outlets saying the Besnards aren't varying their sound enough. I guess they should make a dance album next. Maybe dress like giant paper mâché' teddy bears on tour as well. Whatever. This is music for those with taste. The guitar work on The Refugee is mind blowing. Every track is great. My only gripe would be for the lack of more vocals from Olga. But I can deal.

Amazing yet again

This music makes me so happy. Nobody like them right now.

The Besnard Lakes, are simply brilliant!!

It is nice to hear a great band, who has an out of this world crazy arse guitar player and two people Jace and Olga who sing and write brilliant lyrics. I love it. A band not afraid to play outside of the box and conform to whatever their label or manager tell them to do. There sound is perfect, unique and nothing like next band.Kudos to The Besnard Lakes are not afraid to sing outside the box. More bands with your talents should be able to put together such endearing lyrics like Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas! My only complaint was I was hoping for a longer album; 39 minutes wasn’t long enough for me to continue to enjoy there music. As a writer, this album is the perfect muse for me And Refuge, the guitar rife's were amazing. brilliant! Well Done!!


Formed: 2001 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The Besnard Lakes raise immediate comparisons to the Arcade Fire, but those are primarily due to accidents of geography and band chemistry: like the Arcade Fire, the Besnard Lakes are from Montreal and led by a married couple. That's largely where the similarities end, because if this Quebecois collective resembles any of its Canadian counterparts, it would be as an unexpectedly effective combination of the Dears' psychedelic pop hooks and the languid space rock ambience of early Broken Social Scene....
Full Bio
A Coliseum Complex Museum, The Besnard Lakes
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