Album review: Ray LaMontagne – Part Of The Light


RayLaMontagne - Credit: Archant

LaMontagne’s seventh outing is a solidly satisfying meeting of love song, celestial folk-rock and psych.

For anyone who’s kept tabs on the Trouble singer in the 15 years since his debut, this seventh record draws on the New England native’s considerable songwriting experience, lacing it with the folk-rock lilts he built his name with and more muscly nods to 2016’s psych-rock predecessor Ouroboros and his Dan Auerbach-produced Supernova.

Beyond the jarring opener To The Sea, with its cod-faerie overtones and awful lyrics, LaMontagne dwells on big themes; from the galactic references and glacial pace of It’s Always Been You – as soothing as its protagonist is divinely devoted – to the spiritual title track and Paper Man, both delivered from humanity’s moral high ground.

Lead single Such A Simple Thing is dressed in kind, with slide guitar and LaMontagne’s soaring vocal – here tender rather than whisky-burred – exploring the darker consequences of all-consuming love.

There’s musical heft, too – the fully-charged As Black As Blood Is Blue plays with ideas of spiritual and physical possession, and No Answer Arrives is a brooding, fitful feast.

These darker trips help round out Part Of The Light as more than just a collection of accomplished, timeless love songs for fuzzy Sunday mornings or lazy sunbed lolling.

Rating: 4/5 stars