Universal acclaim - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 17
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 17
  3. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. AllMusic
    It's like a Beach Boys album when it's calm and a Queen album when it's crunchy, but all filtered through what must be one hell of a record collection over at the Goreas-Lasek homestead.
  2. The Besnard Lakes have perfected psychedelic harmonies and slurring melodies, but they're so much bigger than that.
  3. Sift through Are the Dark Horse and the sounds of the Beach Boys or Orbison can certainly be found, but the band has yet to learn the clean, economical songwriting of their influences.
  4. That music so majestically restrained in pace can make your heart beat so quickly is a testament to The Besnard Lakes’ focus and ability to coat each millisecond of track time with an utterly captivating sound without ever becoming clogged up with their myriad ideas.
  5. Taken as a whole, The Besnard Lakes display a unique style, a winning combination of intriguing songwriting and diverse arrangements.
  6. Too big in their influences and scope to fit in even the biggest pigeonhole imaginable, The Besnard Lakes thankfully produce music chock-full of tunes and spine-tingly loveliness not seen since The Beach Boys or more recently the sheer joy and ridiculous grandeur of The Polyphonic Spree.
  7. Moments of beauty cut through the bleakness.
  8. Heroic, monumental and wondrously sensual.
  9. These are explosive epics that don't get tired, tied together in an album that's both instantly accessible and grows on you over time.
  10. The Dark Horse shares [the debut's] deliberate sense of pacing, precious attention to detail and hermetic sound-world atmosphere; the difference here is that almost every song builds to a crucial moment where the Besnards bravely step out of the shadows, and in the process, transform from being a merely good band to a great one.
  11. Throughout, interest is held with dynamic and textural changes, more than an inherently riveting musical idea. But the album’s much more than just stoned jams.
  12. Q Magazine
    Intriguing, unpredictable and far from ordinary. [Mar 2007, p.110]
  13. Spin
    Rarely has dispiritedness sounded so uplifting. [Mar 2007, p.88]
  14. So sure, yet another band of bombast, largesse, room-sound gone cathedral, but either way the Besnard Lakes have mastered their songcraft with this psychedelic oddity, which fits all too well with other wintry early-year indie releases.
  15. Their flutters of effects, long, frosted periods of sonic dormancy, pefectly balanced twin vocals, and general sense of space set them apart from the herd with a surety you only see in the elite.
  16. Uncut
    An amazing album. [Mar 2007, p.75]
  17. Under The Radar
    Their overarching fingernail-meets-chalkboard eeriness... is what prevents a lapse into the preciousness that sometimes accompanies orchestrated indie rock, making the album a rousing success. [#16, p.90]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 46 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 46
  2. Negative: 3 out of 46
  1. Feb 26, 2014
    Ideal storytellers of the Canadiana landscape, .... Are The Dark Horse is a heart pounder of an album, but lacks cohesion found in their laterIdeal storytellers of the Canadiana landscape, .... Are The Dark Horse is a heart pounder of an album, but lacks cohesion found in their later albums. Still doesn't deter enough for the first listens of this distant but barrelling drums, roaring yet quiet trumpets, and commanding yet ghostly vocals, all with some of the better guitar progressions coming out of the Great White North in quite some time. Full Review »
  2. TimC.
    Dec 11, 2007
    Loved it!
  3. JoelZ.
    Nov 20, 2007
    One of those albums I largely was unimpressed with at first listen but 10 listens later blown away, so intricate and beautiful.