My friend Scotty is a big fan of Pink Floyd and wants to hear a modern-day equivalent. I have a suggestion: The Besnard Lakes. It’s a Canadian band. Of course, if you listen to them expecting Pink Floyd you’ll get Besnard Lakes instead and be disappointed. What they have in common is a penchant for long, slow-building songs and wrapping them in a spacey, psychedelic wrapper. The resemblance ends there. The vocals, attitude, and angle of approach are all their own. I have one album called “Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night.” To me, maybe the most closely Floydian song is “And This is What We Call Progress.”
I suspect Scotty would wish the vocals were more up front and brash and not melted into the music as they often are here. He might want stronger, more memorable melodies. But that would be a different band.
If I had a second suggestion it would be the Doves album, “The Last Broadcast.” It’s got the psychedelic edge, the giant soundscapes, and the feel of a concept album, whether it is or not. That one has become a little iconic for me; it’s probably one of those I listened to on my solo drives to Burning Man and back.
Who the heck am I, talking about Burning Man and brain melting music, but not drugs? Okay, here they are: serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, glutamate, GABA, acetylcholine, and the endogenous opioid peptide family: Uncle Enkephalin, Auntie Endorphin, and cousin Dynorphin. We are strange chemical factories. And we are pink on the inside.