This year has been replete with various iterations of indie film scores: to name two, Daft Punk’s Tron: Legacy (no, not the new Daft Punk album) and Minneapolis band Dark Dark Dark’s lush orchestration to the 1928 silent thriller Spies. The newest installation comes from Canadian atmospheric rockers The Besnard Lakes, whose new EP, You Lived in the City, is actually the soundtrack for the interactive online documentary Welcome to Pine Point. Undeniably reminiscent of Twin Peaks, footage from an abandoned mining town’s heyday is supposed to foreground the four-song record. While the first and last tracks could have appeared on any Besnard Lakes album, the middle of the album barely stands on its own without visual accompaniment.
Jace Lasek’s expansive synthesizers provide structure for “Holiday Sin”, which nonetheless meanders through blooming, revelatory chords. Beatific background vocals add purpose, but only in the context of the film, as the light vocals introduce new chapters. “Some Colour in the Sky” sounds almost identical, the only difference being certain octaves and a twittering mandolin that adds welcome, if sparse, texture. While fine for a montage, the songs don’t particularly stand out among The Besnard Lakes’ catalog.
Opener “We’re Here for a Good Time (Not a Long Time)” covers ’70s arena rockers Trooper (think Vancouver’s version of Dexy’s Midnight Runners). While the original bounces forward with wood blocks and maracas, The Besnard Lakes’ version shimmers with nostalgia: Heavy drums echo the inexorable march of time, while Lasek’s Mellotron wavers like an old recording. While it doesn’t exactly make sense behind pictures of Pine Point’s decrepit houses and cracked asphalt, it’s an admirable cover and a great Besnard Lakes song. Closer “The Corner” unfolds like hard slow core, driven by lethargic cymbals and dripping electric guitars. It’s the only song on the album that successfully captures both the essence of a decaying town and the band’s amorphous dreamscapes.
Essential Tracks: “We’re Here for a Good Time (Not a Long Time)” and “The Corner”