Recording information: The Drones Club, Montreal (10/2014-03/2015).
Photographer: Salina Ladha.
Homeshake's sophomore album Midnight Snack was recorded at the same location as its 2014 debut In the Shower (Montreal venue The Drones Club), but exhibits a remarkable increase in recording fidelity, as well as songwriting quality and the overall clarity of the project's vision. In its studio incarnation, Homeshake is basically a solo venture of Peter Sagar, a Montreal-based singer/songwriter who has spent time as Mac DeMarco's touring guitarist. Much of his material as Homeshake was written on the road, and has a downtrodden, lonely feeling reflecting his time away from his home and his girlfriend. The music is generally sparse and drowsy, consisting of just a few layers of instruments along with Sagar's falsetto vocals. Midnight Snack emphasizes the R&B influence evident on previous recordings, adding drum machines and synths along with (or sometimes in place of) the live drums and guitars. Instead of trying to sound like an indie equivalent of Usher the way that How to Dress Well and Autre Ne Veut do, Homeshake's sound on this album comes closer to the homemade outsider soul of Jeff Phelps or Doug Hream Blunt. Sagar likes to play around with the pitch of his vocals, suggesting what would happen if pre-Chocolate and Cheese Ween were to explore more of a soul-influenced direction. The drumless "Under the Sheets" is the most striking example of this, with warped, hallucinatory vocals drifting over simple bass synth chords, and a brief vocal reference to Mariah Carey's "Always Be My Baby" thrown in for good measure. He sounds absolutely devastated on the slow, heartbreaking "Love Is Only a Feeling," and the more uptempo tracks such as "Move This Body" don't sound much more cheerful. Standout tune "Give It to Me" features a stark, bass-heavy trip-hop-like beat along with gentle chimes and more warped vocals crooning a gentle plea for love. Midnight Snack is a decent, creative late-night downer record that finds Sagar successfully incorporating new elements into Homeshake's sound, resulting in the project's most assured material yet. ~ Paul Simpson