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CD: Ray LaMontagne - Part of the Light | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Ray LaMontagne - Part of the Light

CD: Ray LaMontagne - Part of the Light

Music for romantics that rocks as well as lulls

RayLa Montagne: good at building sound pictures

Ray LaMontagne is a versatile artist who for years has been navigating the territory between hard rock and contemporary folk. His voice can be soft and gentle and yet also filled on occasion with something close to aggression. He has a firm grasp of what makes a song unfold with a sense of inevitability that is pleasing to hear rather than just predictable.

Born in 1973, he often resurrects classic rock sounds that are clearly the result of absorbing many treasures of the American and British back catalogues. There are echoes of Fred Neil’s sensitive tenor on the opener “To the Sea” and the majestic “Paper Man” is reminiscent of Cat Stevens and Genesis. This is music for those who enjoy widescreen, echo-laden production (by La Montagne himself, and very well done). It's music for romantics by someone who fills music with yearning. He double-tracks his voice and more, sometimes with a whisper added almost surreptitiously to give mystery to a punchier lead vocal.

He’s good at building sound pictures, not least on the album’s stand-out track “Part of the Light”, a tailor-made hit song with irresistible ear-worm qualities. It’s beautifully gentle, his lead vocal this time double-tracked with an angelic reverb-rich double that lends the song a particular magic. To top it all, there is the gently psychedelic sound of a guitar fed through a Leslie amp, once more a nod to the late Sixties and early Seventies.

For all the smoothness and appeal of his work, there is something just a little bland here. LaMontagne is good, sometimes very good, but perhaps too far into a superbly well-crafted comfort zone to express more of the grit and suffering that gives, at least to this listener, great music depth and soul.

This is music for those who enjoy widescreen, echo-laden production

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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