Peter Sagar (AKA HOMESHAKE) is a singer-songwriter from Montreal Canada. You might of have heard him playing tunes for Mac Demarco’s live band prior to his departure from the indie rock titan back in 2014. A lot has changed since then, now three records deep under the alias HOMESHAKE. It’s safe to say Peter has come a long way. He’s come a long way from releasing bedroom cassette tapes and producing lo-fi waves underground in Bandcamp and Soundcloud alike. Now it’s 2017, it’s a new year, new HOMESHAKE record, and a new change of pace for Sagar.
‘Fresh Air’ stands at 14 songs accumulating around 43 minutes in length, with the average song length around 3 minutes. Needless to say this record is a breezy listen the second you start the record. The record starts out with an airy minute long intro track that bleeds into one of the singles, ‘Call Me Up’. This track was the first song released from the record and gave a good embodiment of what the album ‘could’ sound like. I’m honestly glad that was a false assumption since the single didn’t really prove anything to me personally. I get the nostalgic approach Peter was going for and honestly his production on this song has been duplicated and mass-produced all over the SoundCloud stratosphere. Peter’s previous work especially ‘In the Shower’ back in 2014 took similar algorithms used by Demarco, but with the ‘HOMESHAKE’ aesthetic. The weary dreamy guitars were substituted by overly distorted synthesizers with a down tempo bedroom R&B vibe that runs throughout the entirely of the record.
Peter has toyed with the sounds of ‘Fresh Air’ on his last record from 2015’s ‘Midnight Snack’. He in a way foreshadowed this new R&B influenced sound and capitalized on it. It is a pretty bold approach if you ask me. Leaving the off-kilter guitar style and ‘chillwave’ scene behind him for a more minimal synth-poppy muse. This new muse is tested on the last single off the record, ‘Every single Thing.’ This song is catchy, groovy and thanks to its funky synth leads, this song is both danceable and melodic. I’m also a fan of the sweet chord progression on ‘Getting Down, Pt.ll’. The gently strummed chords along with Peter’s smooth harmonic vocals stirred a mopey execution.
I hate to say that my main issue with this album has to fall upon the remaining second half of the record. The last seven songs especially listened consecutively just fails to ‘move’ me in anyway. To an extent it feels like I’ve already heard these songs before to my first listen. At this point all of the production tricks Peter has used have been stretched and extinguished their full potential. Even the title track ‘Fresh Air’ doesn’t change my impression on this half of the album. At this point, the sharp percussion and synth leads get dull and redundant as Peter tries his hardest for his take on a Prince inspired expo.
I guess my anticipation for this record fell short thanks to Sagar’s previous recording, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t optimistic for whatever he had in store for this year. ‘Fresh Air’ proves to fall short, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t admire it for what it’s worth. There’s hundreds of artist implicating this unique post 80’s pop-synth aesthetic and HOMESHAKE sits among the likes of bands like ‘Mile High Club’, ‘Chip E’ and over half of SoundCloud alike. I guess Pete’s smoky laid back slacker rock production couldn’t wow me to the point where I can say this was a solid record, because it is not