It must be a pretty hard job being Peter Sagar of Homeshake right now. Ever since Sagar gave up the coveted gig of being Mac Demarco’s guitarist he seems unable to play a twinkly guitar or croon lethargically without it being compared to Demarco’s work. It’s a fittingly lazy comparison given the sluggish nature of the music involved. The two clearly revel in the same types of sound and melody except Sagar is able to deliver something which Demarco doesn’t seem to be capable of. Sagar doesn’t allow his own personality to engulf his music in the way that Demarco does. Being able to present songs in this way is a great trait as a songwriter, but only if you are producing quality material.
After the eerie spoken word opener “What Did He Look Like” the album slides into the synth laden “Heat”. As songs go “Heat” is a perfect marriage of drowsy bass lines and catchy vocals, It’s a track that shows the growth in Sagar’s writing skill since Homeshake’s last release “In The Shower”.
Sagar’s vocals sound a lot more polished. You can’t help but get the feeling the whole band feels a lot more comfortable with the material than the last album.
Throughout this album its clear that a lot of time has been taken to distill these tracks down to their base elements. “He’s Heating Up” is a fantastically minimal track that really takes advantage of the space left between guitar and bass riffs to create something much more than the sum of its parts.
“Give It To Me” features a guitar riff so like that famously overly erotic M&S Christmas advert it makes you want to put on your most sultry voice possible and say “This isn’t just any 90’s R&B influenced psychedelic slack rock , This is Homeshake’s 90’s R&B influenced psychedelic slack rock” and then slowly cover it in as much gravy as the budget can handle. That being said “Give It To Me” is a fantastic slice of dream pop which makes use of pitch shifted vocals and harmonies so brilliantly that it leaves you wondering why Sagar has been hiding this song and this sound for so long.
The album does take a bit of a dive after “Under The sheets”, which unfortunately reminds me a bit of Ice JJ Fish. “Real Love” and “Move This Body” both fail to have any real staying power after the first chorus. At this point in the album it becomes rather grating to hear the same repetitive snare sound over and over, so when the final track “goodnight” kicks in the new drum beat feels very refreshing. It’s a shame that you have to wait till the last track of the album to hear something unexpected.
“Midnight Snack” is a big improvement on “In The Shower” in terms of song writing and production but it suffers from a sub par second half. With the exception of “Give It To Me”, there seems to be a lack of interesting ideas from “Love is Only A Feeling” onwards. The danger with low key music is that it can quickly become innocuous and dreary if there isnt something to give it longevity and replay value being introduced regularly. The first half of “Midnight Snack” is not to be sniffed at, Peter Sagar shows he has real skill in writing and presenting great material, but the album falls to the wayside when it falls back on some of the more down trodden tunes.”Midnight Snack” is a great building block of an album. Hopefully Sagar will trim the fat and experiment a bit more on the next Homeshake release. All in all Homeshake’s new album “Midnight Snack” is a lot like a stack of pancakes. The first few bites are dark and syrupy, but the rest is always a disappointing struggle to an empty plate.
‘Midnight Snack’ is out now
Words from William Calvert