The Besnard Lakes - Are the Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings 2LPFatCat Records
The Besnard Lakes have passed through death and they're here to tell the tale. Nearly five years after their last lightning-tinted volley, the magisterial Montreal psych-rock band has sworn off compromise, split with their long-standing label, and completed a searing, 72-minute suite about the darkness of death and the light on the other side.
Ignited by their love for each other, for playing music together, the sextet found themselves unspooling the most uncompromising recording of their career. Despite all its grandeur, ...The Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings honours the very essence of punk rock: the notion that a band needs only be relevant to itself. At last, the Besnard Lakes have crafted a continuous long-form suite: nine tracks that could be listened together as one, like Spiritualized's Lazer Guided Melodies or even Dark Side of the Moon, overflowing with melody and harmony, drone and dazzle, the group's own unique weather.
The Besnard Lakes Are The Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings is a double LP. "Near Death" is the title of the first side. "Death," "After Death," and "Life" follows next. It's literally a journey into (and back from) the brink: the story of the Besnard Lakes' own odyssey but also a remembrance of others, especially the death of Lasek's father in 2019. Being on your deathbed is perhaps the most psychedelic trip you can go on: in Lasek's father's case, he surfaced from a morphine dream to talk about "a window" on his blanket, with "a carpenter inside, making intricate objects." That experience pervades the album, catching fire on the song "Christmas Can Wait"; elsewhere the band pays tribute to the late Mark Hollis and, on "The Father of Time Wakes Up," they mourn the death of Prince.