Design By Humans
Published On: Fri, May 23rd, 2014

Ray LaMontagne: Supernova

ray laRay LaMontagne
(RCA Records)

Buy it at Amazon!

When Ray LaMontagne stormed onto the scene a decade ago with Trouble, he stood at the forefront of an acoustic resurgence. His singer/songwriter style had strong folk and Americana roots, but Supernova sees LaMontagne veering off into the Californian sunshine. Heavy doses of ‘60s, psychedelic vibes make this a dreamy record that’s perfect for the summer.

Nostalgia is not just the name of the game as far as Supernova’s sound goes; the lyrics also follow this path. Opening track “Lavender” recalls a carefree day from childhood, while “Drive-in Movies” describes the perspective of a father looking back on his own youth and his admiration toward actors like Marlon Brando.

But it would be a mistake to dismiss Supernova as a mere throwback album. “Julia” features fuzzy instrumentation that seems to carry the fingerprint of producer Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. “Pick Up a Gun” is a perfectly subdued piece of heartbreak in the midst of all the shimmering imagery, and LaMontagne’s delivery is reminiscent of the sorely missed Damien Rice. Of course, one of the album’s finest moments is the title track. With playful keyboards, Tom Petty levels of catchiness, and a jaunty refrain (“I want you to be my girl”), this is a song that should be played with open windows and no care for the volume. It’s a surprising shift in mood, but let’s face it: a married father is allowed to let a little light into his life. And ours as well.

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Ray LaMontagne: Supernova