Troika #38: The Besnard Lakes are…


The Besnard Lakes are one of my absolute favourite bands. I've been wanting to do a special episode of Troika on them for a while, and with the release of their new epic The Besnard Lakes are the Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings it's finally happening. More people need to know about one of the world's most brilliant but underrated bands.

The Besnard Lakes are a psychedelic rock band from Montreal that lead vocalist and guitarist Jace Lasek (with his Brian Wilson-esque falsetto) jokingly describes as "slow and brooding - a cross between Enya and Led Zeppelin". Together with his wife Olga Goreas ('Oggy' - bass and other lead vocals), Sheenah Ko (Keyboards), Robbie MacArthur (Guitar) and Kevin Laing (Drums) they've been releasing music since 2003. It wasn't until 2013 that I discovered them via Radcliffe and Maconies Radio 6 afternoon show, when Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO, their fourth album was released. I'm pretty sure they played "The Specter'' and I was hooked!

I've really agonised about which tracks to play - there's a pressure in planning which songs are best to introduce the band to new listeners. In fact it's become a bit of an albatross. It meant excluding some songs that are favourites, but that's what we call progress. I've settled on the following, using the 'Double Troika' excuse to expand the options to six.

The intro adds a sample from Carl Sagan's 1970s TV Series 'Cosmos' (Episode one 'The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean'). I've added this because the Bezzies would often come on stage to samples from the series. The episode also features snippets of interviews with Jace and Olga from Q TV and The Neighbours Dog. The cover image for this episode is a snap I took at their 2016 gig in Islington.

  1. "Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent Parts 1 &2"
    Bandcamp Spotify
    From 2010's The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night. Technically two tracks, but I'm counting it as one, and it's a great way to introduce the band's sound.
  2. "Chicago Train"
    Bandcamp Spotify
    Staying with The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night for one more track.
  3. "For Agent 13"
    Bandcamp Spotify
    An early piece of Besnard brilliance here from second album, 2007's The Besnard Lakes are the Dark Horse.
  4. "Color yr Lights in"
    Bandcamp Spotify
    From 2013's Until in excess, imperceptible UFO. The build up of atmosphere really pays off with that wonderful wall of sound for the chorus.
  5. "Necronomicon"
    Bandcamp Spotify
    From 2016's A Coliseum Complex Museum. Instead of play the album track I wanted to play a live version of this - firstly because they're such a great band to hear perform, but also because I prefer how this track sounds live. It takes on another dimension for me. This version was recorded live on KEXP, a public radio station in Seattle, Washington and the audio was taken from the video on YouTube.
  6. "Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings"
    Bandcamp Spotify
    Finishing with the title (and final) track from the latest album, The Besnard Lakes are the Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings. This has become my favourite Besnard track of all time, it's epic ness makes me cry (That, and the heartfelt lyrics "No one else will take me now"). I'm sure this will be the #1 spot in my albums of the year.

(There might also be a sneaky hidden track too)

As well as the digital sources listed above, all albums can be bought in delicious physical formats from their Official Store. I hope you enjoy this Bezzie-focused Troika!

(Fact Fans: I've only dedicated a Troika to single artists once before, when I covered John Shuttleworth on Troika 13: Ooph!.)

How to get this episode

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All music featured is the copyright of the respective artists.