The Besnard Lakes
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The Besnard Lakes

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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"six condensed reviews here"

ne of the best and most criminally overlooked albums of 2003, Volume I is all about hurricane force guitars, but the record aims for something considerably grander than old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. At a time when every other pop music duo aspire to be Meg and Jack, Lasek and Goreas are more interested in making highly textured sonic art.
-Georgia Straight, Vancouver, Canada.

olume I, an ethereal and often-eerie swirl of guitars, organs, synthesizers, reverbs and vocal harmonies…to say the project – a concept album on the theme of isolation – was an ambitious one would be to seriously understate the facts…
-Leader Post, Regina, Canada

hen TheBesnardLakes’ dreamy, angular and altogether alluring debut record, Volume I, was released last august, it quickly became something of an underground favorite. Critics widely welcomed the record, intrigued by the slick, understated narrative concept and the deft mixtures of spooky sounds and hypnotic art-pop riffs fleshing out song titles as evocatively obscure as ‘Life Rarely Begins with Tungsten Film #1.’
-Uptown Magazine, Winnipeg, Canada

heBesnardLakes provide a lush sounding CD that delivers the best of space, drone, pop rock and noise. That is, in my opinion, the perfect combination for psychedelic music…[t]he dynamics involved in the song structures on this release are intense. It ranges from being ambient to noise-pop to head bopping stuff…it’s like the perfect mix CD!…Volume I provides catchy tunes, exploding blips, frequency shifts and mellow organ keyboard lines that sound like they are coming from millions of light years away somewhere in the depths of outer space. These guys know how to make their sound travel far…[t]heir hint of heartache and romance is compelling.

he album sounds surprisingly thick considering there are only two musicians working on it…[t]he music that Olga and Jace have come up with on their Besnard Lakes debut is very original…the music could easily be the soundtrack to a David Lynch movie…Volume I is an adventurous listen and one that I think many will enjoy.

heBesnardLakes…have written and recorded a gorgeous record with Volume I…the guitars are thick with emotive churning and the vocals accelerate from barely audible whispers to clusters of orchestral proportions. There is also a wonderful sense of romance that is projected all over this record, stemming from a love between two people who live and breathe their passion for creating music together. TheBesnardLakes are directors unafraid to show their aural cinematography of the heart. Epic indeed. 4 out of 5
-FFWD, Calgary, Canada

- for you to read

"a few more condensed"

his Montreal psychedelic pop band could be could be one of the city’s best kept secrets. They’re obviously hip to all things My Bloody Valentine, Brian Wilson and Swell…TheBesnardLakes prove to be experts at serving up the dense swirling sound with an arsenal of instrumentation all fighting for space…keep your eyes on these guys. 8.5 out of 10
-Mirror, Montreal, Canada

heBesnardLakes do their best to defy description…the album should please those who like the tangential punchiness of early Eno.
-The Coast, Halifax, Canada

n introspective and engaging debut of grand yet subtle indie rock…a fancy digipack on the CD, and the first full colour (inside and out!) gatefold LP on a Canadian independent release I have seen in a very long time (if ever). A truly beautiful release from nowhere. For fans of Sigur Ros, Godspeed/Constellation, Stereolab, thoughtful and experimaental post-rock.
-Scratch Distribution, Vancouver, Canada

y first attempt at listening to Volume I…was one of the most frightening things I have ever experienced…the result is sort of like watching a particularly unsettling horror movie…unpredictability is the watchword…and there are moments when they make white noise sound oddly melodic. It’s futile to approach TheBesnardLakes expecting a particular sound…it’s certainly a confusing experience (particularly if you’re under the influence of anything, legal or otherwise), but it’s well worth investigating if you’re in for a challenge.
-Spendid online

he songs succeed in the elusive task of capturing all the moodiness, eeriness and dynamics of a mostly instrumental and serious rock exploration without displaying a wit of pretension. The secret? No preconceived notions of who and what they should be.
-Hour, Montreal, Canada

ontreal's TheBesnardLakes sound like a band caught between this world and the afterworld – never mind post-rock, this is ghost rock. But it’s not just a superior production job they have going for them: Volume I would be just as chilling played on a banjo and a set of spoons. 4 out of 5.
-Eye Weekly, Toronto, Canada

hey have spacey guitars and ethereal vocals and sometimes sound retro-futurist. The album’s concept along with odd-meter sections, mellotron usage, and a Yes reference in the liner notes, suggests ‘proggy’ leanings, but these guys (one guy and one girl actually 3/4 on the album al least) are way more restrained and subtle. This could make very nice Sunday hangover music, or late-night driving music, or painkiller taking music. 4 out of 5.

his fledgling Montreal band proved themselves very much for real…transfixing the crowd (that, largely, came to see Broken Social Scene) with a crushing set of layered, brilliant noise. The record is equally impressive-an immaculately produced…offering of almost creepy precision. With infinite intelligent hooks and melodies that creep into songs languorously or burst in unannounced, this is a spacious, intricate gem. 4 out of 5
-Hour, Montreal, Canada

olume I admittedly succeeds where other prog groups fail in combining their penchant for instrumental songcraft with a firm handling of rock melody and rhythm. While the first part of the record is permeated with a Spiritualized-esqe [sic] haze, the psychedelic rock gives way to more aggressive rhythm oriented pieces with subtle hooks weaving in and out of the foreground. In fact, it’s this very integration of pop and prog that seems to give them their MO, and they flaunt it expertly.
-Shredding Paper

- for you to read


TheBesnardLakes-Volume I-full length CD/LP

TheBesnardLakes-Life Rarely Begins With Tungsten Film #2 EP-Seven Inch EP.

Volume I is streaming at

Much airplay on Canadian college radio.


Feeling a bit camera shy


"…gushes and swirls of noise with wind that builds into this awesome wall of mush and fuzz Guitars, bass and quiet drums penetrate these walls of captivating noise providing a big fluffy cloud of hums, tones and delayed harmony…ambient to noise-pop to upbeat head bopping stuff…mellow organ keyboard lines that sound like they are coming from millions of light years away somewhere in the depths of outer space…" "never mind post-rock, this is ghost rock…" "…the first full colour gatefold LP on a Canadian independent release I have seen in a very long time (if ever). A truly beautiful release from nowhere." "…one of the city's [Montreal] best kept secrets…hip to all things my Bloody Valentine, Swervedriver, Brian Wilson ...the occasional nod to some angular post-punk." "...could easily be the soundtrack for a David Lynch movie…" "...should please those who like the tangential punchiness of early Eno…" "Epic indeed." (quotes: Earshot, FFWD, Eye Weekly, Mirror,, Coast.)

As the story goes, the spy comes to town to perform for disillusioned and future novelists. Apparently he's quite terrible...Watch the mysterious Besnard Lakes perform material from their critically acclaimed and highly conceptual psychedelic progressive 'ghost rock' album entitled 'Volume I.' Expect one of the loudest and most sonically coloured performances around. A 4-6 piece band consisting of sometimes 3 guitars (Hiwatt and Garnet powered), bass (Ampeg powered), Drums (Slingerland powered), organs (Hammond S-6 tube organ), synths (Juno 60), ambience (2001: A Space Odyssey) and of course, male and female vocals (powered by marriage). Wear your earplugs and close your eyes.
-Breakglass, 2004.

Formed in 2000, TheBesnardLakes performed two small shows in Montréal at the Casa Del Popolo: one show opening for 1-Speed Bike and Snailhouse for the 2001 Bookmobile project fundraiser, and another opening for The Potomac Accord. After losing the final incarnation of the band to various reasons (Ph.d’s, etc.), Olga and her husband Jace decided to abandon the art of band rehearsal and make an album, just the two of them, in the comfort of their own studio (Breakglass Inc.). The result is ‘Volume I,’ and sees Olga and Jace sharing duties on this record: guitars, basses, organs, Fender Rhodes, synthesizers, drums, saxophone, flute, vocals, reverbs, delays, recording and mixing. Recording commenced in June 2002 and continued through to November.

The album was completed in December 2002, when it was sent to JJ Golden for mastering. Vinyl was pressed at Record Technologies Inc. All large format camera photos on album taken by Jace (BFA in photography, ECIAD, Vancouver), lighting on interior shot by Phillipe Blanchard; print design assisted by Todd Stewart ( All printing was completed in Montréal; all assembly by Olga and Jace. Distributed exclusively by Scratch Records, Vancouver, Canada. Release date is August 26, 2003 in Canada, October 14, 2003 in USA and the world.

TheBesnardLakes ‘Volume I’ is a concept album whether you like that or not.

Band Members