Ray LaMontagne – Ouroboros
The latest release from one of this generations most underrated singer/songwriters follows the trend of his last album Supernova and dives deeper into trippy territory. He’s split the album up into vinyl friendly side one and side two that each blend together seamlessly. Tracks like the lead single ‘Hey, No Pressure’ and ‘The Changing Man’ have fuzzy Black Keys style riffs, whereas ‘In My Own Way’ and the brief instrumental ‘A Murmuration of Starlings’ sound like they’re lifted straight from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. Featuring collaborations with members of My Morning Jacket it should come as no surprise that Ray has drifted ever further from the gritty folk of his debut Trouble.
Therein lies the issue; whilst Ouroboros is an interesting and likeable venture and Ray is to be praised for branching out, it feels like a step on a long journey rather than a final destination. If his heart is set on going down the psychedelic route then he has a while to go before he has perfected the formula. Mix in some of the lush soundscapes of his more recent albums with the powerful yet ‘rough around the edges’ songs from his early days and I think you’d be on to a winner. Think Joe Cocker at Woodstock and you wouldn’t be far off the vision I have in mind. But looking at the present we find a decent release but nothing really enthralling. Ray could release one of the greatest albums of this generation if he took time out and really thought about who he wants to be musically.