Ray LaMontagne

Part of the Light

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Ray LaMontagne may dial back the thick-lidded psychedelia of 2016's Ouroboros on its 2018 sequel, Part of the Light, but he by no means abandons his fondness for trippy sounds. Part of the Light may have moments that recall LaMontagne's austere rustic beginnings, but now that he's revealed his inner Pink Floyd, the singer/songwriter is eager to have it merge with his Americana instincts. Often, this means that Part of the Light can drift, but it's in an amiable, appealing fashion, with LaMontagne finding time for the occasional grinding blues jam ("No Answer Arrives," "As Black as Blood Is Blue") between the lingering twilight ballads. There may be some sturdy song construction here -- the opening "To the Sea" recalls Van Morrison at his most mystic, "Paper Man" feels lean and precise -- but what's memorable is the ever-shifting, ever-changing production on Part of the Light: it's an aural lava lamp, kicking up slow-bursting explosions of texture and sound.

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