Every once in a great while, a record comes along that contains all
of the ingredients to make it an instant classic. Ray LaMontagne's
new release Trouble is one such record. Hearing one of these
songs on the radio, one is sure to recognize the instantly accessible
sound, the righteous vocals, and the truly great musicality. But the
truly great experience comes when listening to the full record, song
after song of blissful melody and easy rhythm. From the album opener
"Trouble" through to the closing notes of "All The
Wild Horses", Trouble is packed with the kind of rock
music that wraps itself calmly around your heart and squeezes, instilling
warmth and a peaceful sense of well-being. The songs tend to be a
bit downbeat, similar in cast to the archetypal Van Morrison
Tupelo Honey-era. Lush string accompaniments fill out the slow-down
of songs like "Shelter", creating a memorable and calming
resting place amidst the daily storms of life. A little bit of Bob
Dylan's spirit breaks loose on "Narrow Escape", all
acoustic guitars, howling harmonicas, and gruff vocals. "Burn"
has an airy and complex quality that recalls the early years of David
Gray, while maintaining a more vintage-era rock-folk tone. Perfect
acoustic guitars provide the main rhythms and add a glorious spiritual
uplift on "Forever My Friend". Turning on the lo-fi yet
clean on "All The Wild Horses", LaMontagne leaves the heart
with a sense of complete fulfillment, yet also a longing for more.
The songwriting on Trouble is incredible, showing the world
that Ray LaMontagne is no flash in the pan. The lyrics are filled
with a mysterious depth and heart-wrenching honesty that is amplified
with LaMontagne's forthright delivery. This is not a record for background
listening, although it would play the part well, but is more suited
to periods of calm meditation and introspection.
3. Hold You In My Arms
4. Narrow Escape
6. Forever My Friend
8. How Come
10. All The Wild Horses
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