With Monovision, Ray LaMontagne has once again created a record which manages to be so soft and dreamy, but also packed with integrity and meaning. Some songs fill you with hope and others bring you to tears; but that’s exactly what you want in music. You want to be taken on an acoustic journey and share in the artist’s joys and turmoil so you can pop out of the other side with a new sense of perspective.
The opening track “Roll Me Mama, Roll Me”, as well as having a catchy as hell hook, pleases the ears with an easy going bluesy vibe. LaMontagne’s breathy vocals are complimented in verse by a chorus of haunting harmonies which adds a different twist to the song’s overall feel. With a really prominent and groovy double bass arrangement under it all, this makes for a cocktail of sonic delights that really draws you in to the album.
The first single, “We’ll Make it Through”, begins with soft acoustic guitar strummed in a flamenco style. This, married with a mellow harmonica solo – which isn’t too harsh – fits in beautifully with its surroundings, creating an effortless Country and Western feel. The snare drum is played softly with jazz brushes which adds another layer to the audio heaven. Sweet sentiment in lyrics make the song very relatable to listeners and takes us all on a journey back to our long lost lovers – “lean on me and I’ll lean on you, and together we’ll get through, we always do”. A brilliant choice for a first single release, as this song perfectly encapsulates the aura of the whole album.
‘Misty Morning Rain’, with its upbeat strumming pattern dotted with soulful guitar solos, is a classic case of Ray in ambience. The motion of this song is reminiscent of summer afternoons spent driving to beautiful destinations.
The last track on the album, ‘Highway to the Sun’, flawlessly reflects the themes of the album.
Ray LaMontagne can’t be compared to any other artist in my books, as no one else completely captures and conveys both raw emotion and sincerity like he does. As a songwriter, his lyrics and soft guitar tones never fail to create an atmosphere you wish you could live in forever. His voice is familiar and wholesome, and will continue to enchant audiences with this new record for sure.
“I just wanna wake up underneath that open sky, I just wanna feel something real before I die”.
This line is echoed throughout the themes of every song, and don’t we all.
Shannon Pearl Powell