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.