Audio Mixer: Jace Lasek.
Recording information: Breakglass Studios, Montreal, QC.
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. ~ Mark Deming