While Ray LaMontagne’s music has long evoked warm memories of early-’70s singer/songwriter fare such as Cat Stevens and James Taylor laced with a true soul man’s wanderlust, the music rarely ventured into grander sonic adventures. With Supernova, LaMontagne is working a variety of approaches that show the sides of the man we all knew existed somewhere in his restless soul. It requires all 10 songs for the trip to conclude. Supernova opens with “Lavender,” a tune guided by producer Dan Auerbach; he gives the track a touch of his Black Keys with an organ that trills and guitars that chop the reverb in half. “Airwaves” chases a jazzy Van Morrison feel to its own perfection. “She’s the One” turns into an aggressive soul rocker. “Pick Up a Gun” and “Smashing” wander through heavily glazed, orchestrated terrains. “Julia” simulates Them’s classic “Gloria.” “No Other Way” uses an organ as its choir. “Supernova” and “Ojai” strip the reverb away from the voice for pulsing ‘60s pop numbers. “Drive-In Movies” touches on country-rock with a skip in its step. It’s a healthy move for a man so often in existential pain.
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