Known as the “Lake of Many Islands”, Besnard Lake in Saskatchewan, Canada covers over 188 miles of idyllic, Elysian shorelines where visitors are encouraged to capture the finest in Northern ocean delights including Pike and Walleye fish. The expansive landscapes – although on first look suggest an air of vividity – are quite unparalleled in its demanding complexion and above startling remoteness. It’s with no surprise then that indie rock ensemble The Besnard Lakes – compared to the likes of their heavyweight counterparts Arcade Fire – have aligned their style to this most denuded of habitats. Manchester’s The Ruby Lounge provided the basement milieu for this most savage of evenings.
Mancunian alternative trio The Longcut supported with help from fellow Montreal bred quartet The High Dials whose high octane brand of early sixties fortified stylings kept the mood of increasing potency throughout raining high. It was an astute gesture from the Canadians, as the aura sedated within the calm beatnik bunker.
Arriving within the swell of hazy smokescapes the quartet saw ‘We’re Here For a Good Time (Not a Long Time)’ – taken from 2011’s ‘You Lived in the City’ – open. Drums, seeping through to introduce the ear wrenching eight minute track, trounced as a post-psychedelic set of tumbling hooks stifled the room as Olga Goreas’ Niko flavoured vocals decorated on top. Much like Cate Le Bon, Goreas embodies a somewhat eccentric on stage manner, a manner embraced not feared.
The fact that all The Besnard Lakes tracks felt personified as mountains – large in structure, epic in voice – the evening represented a mammoth set. Tracks ‘Chicago Train’ – manipulated orchestral samples rise in a Mobyesque approach with Goreas at points dropping her instrument to perform sweeping flute patterns while her husband Jace Lasek vocals festered within the depths of each individual’s soul – and ‘The Specter’ – reversed organ linked with shuffling shaker grooves, synths soared against the grain of dementing melancholy tied up with an incredible tribal ending – cast an image of a wiser Vancouver Sleep Clinic.
In earnest, The Besnard Lakes are exactly what their name evokes.
Words by Clive K Hammond