Album Review: Homeshake – Fresh Air

In line with the worldwide adopted Danish social phenomenon Hygge, Homeshake rounds off a trilogy of albums covering the cornerstones of good mental health – staying warm (‘In the Shower) and good eating (Midnight Snack’) – with Fresh Air’.

And like purveyors of things like Hygge, the album seems to be about Sagar’s daily struggle to get in a positive and comfortable headspace. More than ever, the album is produced to sound like a telepathic pirate radio link up to Sagar’s brain, to the extent on ‘Every Single Thing’ you get transported into Sagar being awoken from a daydream to the accusatory question, ‘Are you even listening to me?

Sagar seems primarily concerned with anxieties created by the transient nature of a musician’s lifestyle – being around too much then not being around enough. Ironically, for an album called Fresh Air, the album is mostly concerned with Sagar’s relationship with domesticity and he spends the majority of the run-time introspectively considering the connection between his mood and environment. On ‘Timing’, Sagar hangs around the empty flat worrying about co-dependence, waiting for people to come home, drinking tea and putting off doing the dishes. On the flip side ’Call Me Up’ he urges ‘Anytime you wanna just call me up, and I’ll answer you, on the phone’ in an attempt to alleviate feelings of guilt for abandoning people whilst on tour.

There is more emphasis on the use of synths and 808’s to create his own version of baby-making R&B jams that made up some of his last album Midnight Snack, which come together as a slick combination of 90’s hip-hop, R Kelly and James Ferraro. But across the album, the full sonic arsenal Sagar has built up over his period as a solo artist is at some point on display: duets with pitched down recordings of his own falsetto, weird spoken word interludes where he plays all parts, jangly stoned guitars with wandering bass and appealing lo-fi production values.

It’s not all neurotic, and Sagar finds positivity in ‘Khmlwugh’ (I eventually worked out this is an acronym for the hook: ‘kissing, hugging, making love, waking up and getting high’) a track celebrating simple pleasures of a shared domestic routine, but for an LP whose sticker on the front of the LP quotes ’It’s relaxing musicFresh Air is conceptually kind of a heavy listen. There’s an interesting duality between the surface level lo-fi pop and the subtle anxiety that occasionally rears it’s head as the lo-fi trappings fade away to reveal eerie, stoned sonic experimentation in their fallout. The unsettling tone makes the experience as much hallucinatory as danceable.

Also – Peter Sagar used to be the touring guitarist for Mac Demarco.

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