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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ...and now for something completely different.
I had been looking forward to this release for a while. Ray LaMontagne has yet to make an album that I haven't enjoyed and his previous releases have ranged from very good to brilliant, with those very special moments of soul-destroying emotion which make him such an essential artist. Learning that he was making his fifth album with Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys) was a...
Published 9 months ago by Andy Sweeney

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy if you are expecting anything remotely like his previous work
I don't often bother to write reviews. However, this is one of the - if not the - most disappointing musical purchases I have ever made. As a tremendous fan of Ray's previous work I cannot understand the change of direction (and after waiting nearly 4 years for the release of a new album from him!)

Each of his previous albums had its own style and was subtly...
Published 5 months ago by John P


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ...and now for something completely different., 11 May 2014
By 
Andy Sweeney "music was my first love" (Brighton, East Sussex) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Supernova (Audio CD)
I had been looking forward to this release for a while. Ray LaMontagne has yet to make an album that I haven't enjoyed and his previous releases have ranged from very good to brilliant, with those very special moments of soul-destroying emotion which make him such an essential artist. Learning that he was making his fifth album with Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys) was a tantalising prospect, especially as it was very difficult, if nigh impossible, to visualise what that collaboration was going to produce. As it turns out, the end result sounds a little underwhelming at first as, while this album definitely sounds rather beautiful, many of Ray's songs, given such a glossy sheen, lack a certain emotive quality that his music has overflown with before. That's not to say this is a bad album and, when you get to know the material a little more and are able alter your perception, it's much more than merely listenable and is, in fact, a rather delightful experience, but compared with earlier LaMontagne albums (especially the first and second), it just seems a little... well, light and infeasibly happy. Still, to give "Supernova" a fair hearing, you really need to disregard what you know about Ray LaMontagne's career so far and attempt to listen with a fresh pair of ears. Not easy, I know, but taking this album on its own merits instead of comparing it with his previous work is the best way to actually enjoy it.

So, if you are able to suspend your expectations, there are more than a handful of songs to really love here and, pleasingly, not a single duff track. Most strikingly, much of the album is drenched in summery, west coast harmonies and oodles of reverb and album opener "Lavender", with echoes of The Zombies' "Time Of The Season", shimmers, caresses and simply sounds lovely, even if Ray's voice gets lost in the mix a little. The laid back "Airwaves" has a slight Hawaiian feel to it and would be the perfect soundtrack to listen to whilst lying on a sun-drenched beach, watching the waves lap at the shore. The big, full sound of "She's The One" with Ray near-growling over the top is one of the choice tracks here and one of those hook-laden songs that buries itself deep in your brain once you hear it a couple of times. The same can be said about "Julia", a catchy, upbeat number that has almost has a glam-rock thumping drum beat and guitar riff which, together with a brief interlude between verses that sounds a little like the Small Faces' "Lazy Sunday" adds up to a pretty much irresistible cut.

The title track, "Supernova", is a breezy, organ laden gem that simply makes me smile and the near-spoken verse even has a hint of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' "Here Comes My Girl" whilst the bridge evokes memories of Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band, which can never be a bad thing. "Smashing" is a gently psychedelic beauty and the powerful chorus sees Ray delivering the line "I'll be the one who stays..." with powerful conviction. It is essential that the listener doesn't write this album off straight away because of initial impressions. Final track, "Drive-In Movies" is a pleasing and likeable country-rock romp that just screams "feel-good". All-in-all, this is a pretty fine album and I expect that it will win many sceptics around, given a few plays and an open mind. Producer Auerbach has certainly given Ray's material a different feel, but the talented band of musicians assembled here (including Auerbach on guitar) ensure there won't be many albums this year that sound quite as pleasing to the ear as this one. It may not be what you were expecting and it may not be exactly what you want, given the music he has produced in the past, but "Supernova" has enough shining moments on it to make it a more than worthy addition to Ray LaMontagne's impressive catalogue.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Change Of Direction...., 9 May 2014
By 
J. Willis (London, England.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Supernova (Audio CD)
I took a bit of stick around the time of 'God Willin...' for daring to suggest that maybe Ray Lamontagne was becoming somewhat predictable. It seems that he come to that conclusion himself. The choice of Dan Auerbach as producer is inspired, for if Ethan Johns(still a genius) mainly dealt in earthy tones and textures when it came to Ray's earlier albums, then Auerbach's palette in comparison is kaleidoscopic! In fairness, at its core, 'Supernova' is still Ray and his acoustic guitar. The psychedelic influence across the album makes for something different, as on opening song 'Lavender', which would be right at home on Love's 'Forever Changes'. All in all, it's a good album, and credit where it's due to Ray Lamontagne for the (slight) change of direction.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow! This isn't what I was expecting, 5 May 2014
By 
Big Jim "Big Jim" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Supernova (Audio CD)
Rather than bring out another album of rather fine Americana Ray Lamontagne has decided to revisit the late 60s vibe San Francisco style with an album of whispery vocals, farfisa organ, washes of strings and gently psychedelic guitar parts. That is what I call a departure and at first I have to say it didn't click with me. However on second and subsequent listens, the melodic structures have revealed themselves and I'm really quite enjoying it now. This album may not please all fans of Ray's previous work, especially the Pariah Dogs stuff, but I say give it a chance and applaud an artist trying something different.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Supernova: Ray LaMontagne – Smashing!, 24 July 2014
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Supernova (Audio CD)
Since 2004, Ray LaMontagne has released a series of 4 fine albums that had a simple Americana style. Within that he managed to produce some really beautiful music and great songs, while also experimenting with the form, growing as an artist and on each subsequent release making more and more complex music with different tones and colourings that still engages the listener.

With his fifth release, 2014’s Supernova, he has somehow managed to change direction completely while still doing similar things to his previous albums. The album is heavily influenced by the West Coast sound, with an impressive production (by Dan Auerbach, of Black Keys fame, who recently produced the Dr John classic Lockdown) that gives us lots of hippie, happy strings and organs swirling and swooshing around but supporting Ray’s distinctive voice and lyrics. It’s lusher, richer, bigger sounding than previous releases, but the centrepiece is still Ray, his guitar, voice and lyrics as with previous albums. It’s a bit more upbeat than I was expecting, but it really works. This is an artist who continues to grow, explore new directions and new sounds and produce great lyrics. Great stuff, 5 stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His best yet?, 4 Jun. 2014
By 
M. Pryor "MichaelP" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Supernova (Audio CD)
I've been a fan of Ray LaMontagne since 'Trouble' and given the very high quality of pretty much everything he's done since, it would take something pretty special to top his previous work, but I think he has. Each of his albums has had a different flavour, this one having something of a West Coast, psychedelic sound to it. However, the quality of the songwriting is as good as always, if not better, with some real gems on here. I'll be playing this a lot over the summer, ideally while driving on a sunny day.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Syd, 22 May 2014
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This review is from: Supernova (Audio CD)
It's a 'change of direction'.

Shares some of its DNA with Syd Barrett's work.

Nothing challenging here, just charming.

Run, run! The hippies are coming!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Departure indeed!, 11 May 2014
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This review is from: Supernova [VINYL] (Vinyl)
As the others have mentioned, this is somewhat of a departure for Ray. It's a little cheesy actually but not in a bad way. For the most part, it is a collection of jolly songs with a little bit of a rock edge to them strangely. Psychedelic, not sure, but I see what they are getting at. He certainly seems to be a lot cheerier these days when compared to the very melancholy Till the Sun Turns Black, which happens to be my favourite of his albums. I would say, give it a go. It is different but it is starting to grow on me. Side B is more successful but it is still a solid album overall. Not to everyone's tastes though I would think.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy if you are expecting anything remotely like his previous work, 6 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Supernova (Audio CD)
I don't often bother to write reviews. However, this is one of the - if not the - most disappointing musical purchases I have ever made. As a tremendous fan of Ray's previous work I cannot understand the change of direction (and after waiting nearly 4 years for the release of a new album from him!)

Each of his previous albums had its own style and was subtly different from the preceding album. This is just too much of a musical departure for me. Don't buy if you are expecting anything remotely like his previous work.

I can only hope his next album returns to his original style.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Heavens Preserve us from the 'Fans', 14 Oct. 2014
By 
William J. Walker "Billyjay" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Supernova (Audio CD)
Just one to balance up some of the reviews from those disappointed 'fans'
You know the sort of people who can't stand it when their artist doesn't behave as expected (Neil Young would have been a 2 star artist on here throughout his career).
There is quite a bit of a psychedelic pop flavour and quite an 'up' feel on this album which makes it a bit of a departure from his usual stuff and all the better for being unexpected.
Excellent album if you listen to it for what it is.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Different from his previous cd's but in a good way! You can hear all sorts of influences ..., 9 July 2014
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This review is from: Supernova (Audio CD)
Different from his previous cd's but in a good way! You can hear all sorts of influences on the cd but he manages to pull it all together & make it gel.
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Supernova by Ray LaMontagne (Audio CD - 2014)
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