Homeshake – Under the Weather
Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Peter Sagar, AKA Homeshake, produced his latest album Under the Weather with the help of his long-time friend Lucas Nathan (Jerry Paper). Mostly written in 2019, the material is essentially about the deep despondency felt by the Montreal artist during that period. His fifth studio record following Helium in 2019, the work reflects his long period of isolation. Equating making music with writing a journal, he has stated: “It was a bit of a dark pit”.
After Wake Up, a very short, purely electro intro resembling a fast-motion sunrise, Feel Better is all about trying to cheer up. With a touch of Alternative sound, the piece’s rich synth, smooth guitar licks and semi-falsetto vocals are mellow, romantic – like floating in space. The whimsical Vaccum has a dreamy, hopeful quality, using a retro 60s ambiance via electronically created tones. Combined with its out-of-this-world aura (which characterises the record as a whole), it might be a reflection of Sagar’s admitted addiction to old Star Trek episodes.
With an elegant, melodious opening, the euphonious and melancholic I Know I Know I Know is punctuated with gentle falsetto, unusual percussion and intriguing, echoing background vocals. It’s slow and sultry, a softly sentimental song about love. The more wistful Inaminit is imaginative and complex, with ingenious eerie backup singing and musical notes, and a distinct hip-hop beat.
A spacey Careful slips further into a mood of numb depression. Combining tenor and falsetto, simultaneous quirky percussion variations, and vague, muted conversations with a woman, the piece is like a spooky dream. Mindless sounds at first symphonic, more upbeat, and speeds up with electronic bubble-like tones, then suddenly loses steam and peters out as if unplugged, expressing hope deflated.
The following track, Spend It, is discordant funk with unusual synth notes, merging mellifluous singing and what could be a gagged robot trying to speak, gradually winding down and losing power. Like being under water in a submarine, Half Asleep After the Movies contains interesting guitar licks as a counterpoint to a persistent headachy drone made palpable by the sound of a spoon stirring in a glass, a woman saying, “Here drink this,” and a drained, slowed-to-base “Ok”.
Passenger Seat’s strong beats and dreamlike vocals are similar to Feel Better in style, with more distinct electronic touches and sounds resembling a machine trying to express itself. With a sparkling intro of synth and a hollow, tapping drumbeat, some beautiful guitar licks and a muted chorus, the slightly more buoyant Tenterhooks seems to express Sagar’s desperate struggle with sadness while attempting to hope. As with the 22-second intro, the album’s finale is a very short 28-second electronic coda, as if to lower the curtain.
Peter Sagar’s atmospheric Under The Weather is much more than an ode to depression. The imaginative synth sounds, instrumental chords and hip-hop-style beat, combined with the singer’s versatile, mostly falsetto vocals, have a poetic quality and could be characterised as musical concept art. The record is rich with gorgeous electro and guitar tones, lovely, pensive singing and innovative as well as quirky, humorous touches, despite its emotions of distress. Hope is valiantly endeavouring to emerge in these tracks, and there is a sense that it will.
Under the Weather is released on 10th September 2021. For further information or to order the album visit Homeshake’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Passenger Seat here: