The Besnard Lakes thrill on gorgeous baroque psych-prog collection

Canada's answer to the Flaming Lips, The Besnard Lakes, commit to beauty and scale on sixth album The Besnard Lakes Are The Last Of The Great Thunderstorm Warnings

The Besnard Lakes: The Besnard Lakes Are The Last Of The Great Thunderstorm Warnings
(Image: © Full Time Hobby)

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After five years of label changes and personal turmoil, the Montreal post-rock collective led by married composer-producer duo Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas return with a double-length exercise in mind-blowing symphonic maximalism. 

In contrast to their relatively concise 2016 album A Coliseum Museum Complex, Canada’s answer to the Flaming Lips fully indulge their baroque psych-prog experimentalism on richly layered studio confections that include oblique tributes to Prince and Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis.

Lacek also commemorates his father’s death, on the opulent, gorgeous electro-orchestral epic Christmas Can Wait

From the dreamy sci-fi doo-wop of Raindrops to the blissed-out noodling of The Dark Side Of Paradise, this trippy sonic banquet is full of knowing homages to Brian Wilson and Pink Floyd

The anthemic psych-folk title track itself spans 17 minutes, most of which consists of luminous ambient afterglow. The Besnard Lakes might test the listener’s patience at times, but their commendable commitment to monumental scale and ambition often results in something thrillingly beautiful.

Stephen Dalton has been writing about all things rock for more than 30 years, starting in the late Eighties at the New Musical Express (RIP) when it was still an annoyingly pompous analogue weekly paper printed on dead trees and sold in actual physical shops. For the last decade or so he has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. He has also written about music and film for Uncut, Vox, Prog, The Quietus, Electronic Sound, Rolling Stone, The Times, The London Evening Standard, Wallpaper, The Film Verdict, Sight and Sound, The Hollywood Reporter and others, including some even more disreputable publications.