The Besnard Lakes – A Coliseum Complex Museum (Jagjaguwar)


A Coliseum Complex Museum

I’ve been dreading writing about this album. Not because I need to wrack my brains for the right words or because it exposes some kind of hard to swallow truths about myself, but because it’s so damn boring. The Besnard Lakes were exciting back when the Montreal group’s second album, The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse, landed on everyone’s radar in 2007. They seemed to have found a nice spot for themselves in the Venn diagram overlap between Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys and Sigur Ros, with exciting widescreen guitar-scapes and big harmonies. They’ve released three albums since, each one stubbornly similar to its predecessor, and by sticking so steadfastly to the same formula the band’s faults have shifted to the forefront while their strengths have receded. This makes A Coliseum Complex Museum something of a nadir. Those high Beach Boy-type harmonies from husband and wife vocalists Olga Goreas and Jace Lasek, once a selling point, now sound repetitive and a tool to render lyrics completely indecipherable. Even if listeners could pick words out from the numbing waves of vocal harmonies, the obscure nature of the album’s title, and song titles like “The Bray Road Beast” or “Towers Sent Her To Sheets Of Sound,” make it unlikely they’ll mean anything to anyone. If The Besnard Lakes are enjoying making the same insular music over and over again, audience be damned, they can keep following the well-worn road map they’ve been using for the past decade. However, if they want to hold people’s interest (which seems to be diminishing) they’ll need to shake things up moving forward.