Release Date: Jan 29, 2021
Record label: Fat Cat Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Neo-Psychedelia
The Besnard Lakes Are the Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings. The weight of such a title might crush a lesser band, but the Montreal space rock veterans have a history of similarly proclamatory banners and once again rise to meet a challenge of their own making. Released five years after 2016's more compact A Coliseum Complex Museum, Thunderstorm Warnings is the Besnards' first outing since leaving their longtime label, Jagjaguwar, and while they've never been known to suffer from the constraints of commercial aspiration, there is a certain note of freedom in these nine sprawling gems.
Pop quiz: how many of the Besnard Lakes' first five albums are double LPs? Appreciators of the Montreal outfit's maximalist psych-rock voyages may answer something like "three" or "four," which, while plausible, would be completely wrong. For all their orchestral ambition, previous efforts have never hit the 50-minute mark, managing to pack full worlds of instruments, concepts and atmosphere into a single slab of wax. They finally give in to impulse on epic-as-it-sounds The Besnard Lakes Are the Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings, which stretches nine tracks across an 72-minute meditation on death, dying and the afterlife.
Photograph by Joseph Yarmush The Besnard Lakes Are The Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings by The Besnard Lakes Canadian space-rock band The Besnard Lakes have always trafficked in epic, flowing, long-form music, but on their latest album, a double no less, they've truly pushed the boat out. Are the Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings is a 72-minute opus split into four themed sides ("Near Death," "Death," "After Death," "Life"), apparently honoring the lives of Prince, Talk Talk's Mark Hollis, and Jace Lasek's father, all of whom passed away in recent years. Thankfully, when you're a band adept at painting in bold brush strokes, crafting such ambitious musical scenery doesn't feel like a stretch.