Design By Humans
Published On: Wed, Mar 30th, 2016

Ray LaMontagne: Ouroboros

ray lRay LaMontagne
(RCA Records)

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Rarely does a collection of songs run together so seamlessly as does Ray LaMontagne’s newest recording, a 40-minute sonic journey that, when taken as a whole, feels like one extended track. After enlisting the ultra-talented Dan Auerbach to help produce Supernova, Ray decided to collaborate on Ouroboros with another huge musical force: Jim James of My Morning Jacket. The airy, transcendent sound on The Waterfall, MMJ’s most recent release, rubs off more than a little bit on this record. The album’s name draws reference to an Egyptian symbol depicting a serpent eating its own tail, an image meant to represent the cyclical nature of life. And like many a life, this album should be judged not by one or two moments, but by the full length of its existence. Ouroboros combines elements of Ray’s previous recordings in a novel way: you’ll feel the acoustic melodies that defined Gossip in the Grain and Till The Sun Turns Black, but you’ll also find the driving bass lines and dual guitars that made God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise a Grammy winner. The record’s one-track feel is most evident in its conclusion, as the last three songs are woven together in such a way that listeners will find it hardly noticeable when one ends and another begins. The final song closes with the following message: “[You’re] never gonna hear this song on the radio/But wouldn’t it make a lovely photograph?” Indeed, these songs were written not for radio listening, but for a full-album experience. Give yourself to Ouroboros for the better part of an hour and you’ll find yourself completely immersed in the mystical air of the music, even if only for one long moment.

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Ray LaMontagne: Ouroboros