Formed as a side-project of three key names on the Canadian experimental indie rock scene, Swan Lake displayed their collective mastery of controlled cacophony on their 2006 debut, Beast Moans. Multi-instrumentalist Spencer Krug (Penticton, British Columbia, Canada) of Wolf Parade was an occasional member of Carey Mercers (b. British Columbia, Canada) Frog Eyes and even appeared on their 2002 debut, The Bloody Hand. After Daniel Bejar (b. 1972, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; guitar/vocals) picked Frog Eyes as his backing band for a European tour under his Destroyer moniker, rumours circulated that this would be the genesis of a new band. Beast Moans was recorded during February and March of 2006, at two Canadian locations, with the majority of the work completed at a remote cabin on Vancouver Island. In contrast with their respective previous projects the songs were written and recorded on-the-spot, in the cabin, resulting in the album being heavily layered in overdubs, after an initial track of acoustic guitar had been laid down. As none of trio was natural drummers, Krug and Mercer claimed to have played a kit between them (one hit the hi-hat the other hit the snare) and this type of enforced, makeshift ingenuity typified the album. It was much closer to the sound of Bejars Destroyer and Krugs Wolf Parade than it was to Mercers Frog Eyes. However, Bejar left the majority of the mixing and mastering to Krug and Mercer and the tracks were all recorded onto the latters computer.
On its release, Beast Moans met with mixed reviews, and existing fans of Bejar, Krug and Mercer were baffled by the fact that their vocals had been buried heavily in the mix. The stand-out tracks were those where the vocals shone through, including Bejars wonderful A Venue Called Rubella and Krugs Will Oldham -meets- David Bowie lament for a lost lover, Are You Swimming In Her Pools?.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.