Reviewed by: Lara Supan
And now for something completely different.
You probably won’t believe this is Ray LaMontagne on his new album Supernova, but it is! This gritty folk icon has given himself a makeover and ended up sounding like a Donovan revival enthusiast. That said, it’s really not a bad change for him, just different.
“Lavender”, the first track on the album, screams mid 60’s pop folk, and it paves the way for the rest of this collection of songs. “Smashing” even sounds a bit like the Beatles in their Sargeant Pepper phase. Light, breathy vocals and percussive, heavily bell-laden beats bring you back to their flower power and fight the system roots in a very peaceful way. What is so interesting about Supernova is the blend of Roots and Blues instrumentation threaded in these retro songs. Tight harmonies are showcased throughout the album, and you can’t help but give the man props for a such a bold statement.
Will you like Supernova if you like classic Ray LaMontagne? I’m not sure. If you’re willing to suspend belief for a second though, I think you will really enjoy this trip down memory lane. It’s definitely a solid album, and all of LaMontagne’s stylistic choices seem intentional and well informed. If that sounds like a mixed review, it’s because it is. Go listen for yourself!