Honorable Mention Part III : Besnard Lakes ‘Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO’

besnard lakespsychedelic


—used to describe a drug (such as LSD) that affects your thinking and causes you to see things that are not real

: caused by the use of psychedelic drugs

: suggesting the effects of psychedelic drugs by having bright colors, strange sounds, etc.

I’ve never actually looked up the definition of psychedelic. I suppose it’s about where I’d a put it. That last one is more my speed, as I’m not often dropping LSD. But I did “trip” once driving home from my girlfriend’s house when I was 18. I’d taken one too many Theo-Dur mixed with Benadryl and could’ve sworn I saw 30 deer running across the road at 1am as I drove home from her house. She lived with her aunt and uncle whom had cats. I’m very allergic to cats. The things we do for a peck on the cheek, wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

Anyways, back to psychedelic. Sure, it’s derived from the effects of psychedelic drugs like LSD, PCP, and Splenda, but I guess I see psychedelia as a state of mind you can reach even without the use of illegal substances. Much like spiritual bliss -which despite what others might say is something you can very much obtain internally rather than from Sunday morning tithes and scripture screaming- psychedelia is something you find inside yourself. It’s something you unlock through something deep and meaningful. The Besnard Lakes create a mental and spiritual state of psychedelia on their albums that pulls you from those middling ins and out of the everyday and puts you into an elevated state of consciousness. Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO is a record that perfects this. It’s blotter for your ears and soul. They take their cues from The Beach Boys on this album. Specifically songs like “Surfs Up”, and a good portion of Smile. Songs like “46 Satires”, “And Her Eyes Were Painted Gold” and especially the sublime “The Spectre” have this soft spoken way of lifting you from whatever doldrums you may be in. They have this pop majesty to them that makes them feel otherworldly. While at the same time, there’s darkness to them. I think about Ofelia meeting the faun for the first time in Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth. There’s something very child-like about him, yet at the same time something you can’t put your finger on. Something you can’t quite trust. There’s this depth in the songs of The Besnard Lakes that you can’t quite gauge; you can’t quite grasp on your first, second, or third listen. Dreamy waves of psychedelia, for sure. But psychedelia you can’t get from substances ingested. It’s a psychedelia created from experience and living. You hear a song like “The Spectre” and it wakes forgotten memories in you. It pulls emotions from you that you weren’t  expecting to feel. A childhood trip to the beach with your family. The death of a loved one. The first time you realized you were in love. These are the feelings of psychedelia I’m talking about. The Besnard Lakes create these moments within their aural canvases they call albums. Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO perfects this formula.

Sure, Arcade Fire are from Montreal. And yeah, they put an album out this year as well. There will probably be more people discussing their album than The Besnard Lakes album. And while I’ll admit that the other Montreal band put out a really fine album, I think it would be a damn shame if folks look over The Besnard Lakes’ Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO. It’s a stunning and quite beautiful record that deserves to be heard and experienced. No psychedelics required to experience this psychedelia.

9.3 out of 10

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