Homeshake

Fresh Air

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Following the stripped-down, melancholy electro-R&B of his 2015 album Midnight Snack, Homeshake's Peter Sagar expands on this sound with the less weird, more refined Fresh Air. As with before, the songs on this album are still constructed with sparse drum machines, cold synths, and a smattering of tasteful guitar licks. Here, he relies less on Ween-like vocal pitch-shifting trickery and focuses on more direct sentiments. He never over-sings or tries to imitate stars like Usher the way other indie R&B acts do, but overall he seems more confident here. As with previous Homeshake recordings, Sagar wrote, played, and sang all the songs, and they seem too lonely and personal to have been composed and recorded with other people. A few songs, such as the slick, smooth "Call Me Up" and the casually funky "Every Single Thing," sound like they could be Toro y Moi demos. Others, such as "Serious," have slightly wonky but still solid rhythms. However, the album's best moments are essentially the ones where he channels Prince at his most down and out. The icy, woozy "Timing" is particularly soul-crushing, and "So She" seems a bit breezier, but still has a lingering sense of doubt and uncertainty. He sounds a bit more relaxed (but still bummed out) on "Khmlwugh," which isn't gibberish but an acronym for "kissin', huggin', makin' love and wakin' up and gettin' high." It's not the only song where he drinks or takes drugs to distract himself from pain and loneliness. Sagar seems trapped at home and unable to break free from everything that's holding him down, but he's doing his best to get by.

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