Ray LaMontagne – Supernova
A supernova is a stellar explosion of a massive supergiant star: this album is an understated big bang.
In the late 2000s Ray LaMontagne was the epitome of bearded acoustic folk music with his hit album Trouble, but he’s back with a new album that sees a shift away from his usual one-man-and-a-guitar show.
The album is instantly more whimsical and more likeable in many ways. First track Lavender is a woozy song that introduces you to a very different Ray. Asking if we remember the day we felt that way in a lavender field is nothing short of dreamy.
For this album he teamed up with Dan Auerbac from The Black Keys to produce it and it shows, with more synths and electric guitar riffs. He’s a lot less troubled and more reflective after ten years in the industry.
Throughout the record there are lots of spacy synths and a heavy 60s psychedelic influence but there are still classic LaMontagne falsetto growls scattered through. Ojai and Drive In Movies are more like the old LaMontagne but it’s still not as raw and passionate as his previous work, which is the only downfall of the album.
On Airwaves his voice is softer and at times barely a whisper. The addition of a ukulele makes it the perfect soundtrack to a beach bar drink – it’s hard not to be seduced by him. By the time it gets to title track Supernova and he croons “I want you to be my girl” you are merely putty in his hands.
She’s the One and Julia are prime examples of the Auerbac influence. They’re well-polished with catchy guitar riffs making the album one that could take LaMontagne mainstream. In Pick Up a Gun he sings “I never want to see your face again” but it’s said so dreamily over romantic “ahs” you don’t notice the joyless lyrics.
Be warned: all you’ve ever known about Lamontagne has just changed in Supernova. It’s like your Dad has just shaved off the moustache he’s had for 20 years: you’re not used to it but ultimately its better. It will take a few listens to adjust to this new sound but it’s worth it.
Taking you on a wistful journey without ever getting boring, the songs are catchy without being annoying: potentially the perfect album.
Supernova was released on 29th April 2014. For further information or to order the album visit Ray La Montagne’s website here.
Watch the video for Supernova here: