Album Review: Ouroboros by Ray LaMontagne

American singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne is back with his sixth studio album: Ouroboros. Having been a fan of him for some time, I was excited to hear he was back with new music and as always, Ray has not disappointed.

Starting the album off with tracks like ‘Homecoming’ and ‘Hey, No Pressure’ which have a psychedelic feel similar to the rock and roll riffs of The Black Keys, had me bobbing my head right away. That being said, the beautiful raspiness to LaMontagne’s voice would sound great over any style of tune; which is proved in ‘While it Still Beats’, where there’s a lot more anger behind the lyrics and styling of the song.

Ouroboros is the kind of album I would have playing in my bedroom whilst revising as it’s the perfect mix of dreamy slow pop-folk songs and soulful rock. Right when you start to get relaxed into the song and its style, an awesome drum fill or guitar riff is thrown in to keep your interest and keep you paying attention. In songs like ‘In My Own Way’, it almost feels as if LaMontagne and his band have sat down for a jam and are improvising throughout the track, making it feel like they’re performing live in front of you.

Hidden surprises

Whilst a lot of the tracks on the album do have a similar feel in terms of style and pace, the production rather than the lyrics or tune is what keeps me coming back for more. There are so many hidden surprises throughout the album in terms of experimentation with synthesisers (something I wouldn’t associate with LaMontagne’s music) and delay pedals that, if you listen out for them, add so much richness to the meaning in his songs. Ray himself, when posting the album cover to his Instagram account, commented that, “Listening is not a purely passive act. To listen is to participate”.

I’m a big fan of all things Ray so I may be the wrong person to give an unbiased opinion on Ouroboros. What I would say, is that if you haven’t heard his music before, this is a great place to start to get a flavour of his immense talents. 

Are you a fan of Ray LaMontagne? What do you think of the new album? Let us know in the comments below!