Homeshake’s ‘Fresh Air’ is a soul-searching adventure through space

The Montreal-based indie-pop genius is back with some groovy tunes from another planet


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Homeshake’s ‘Fresh Air’ is a soft and soothing collection of ’80’s inspired jizz-jazz.

The first words of Homeshake’s newest album emerge as if a Martian was welcoming us up a staircase to a distant planet, where everything is made of glass and the three dimensions disappeared. “Hello, welcome” utters a voice, inviting us along the latest journey that is the Canadian musician’s third LP.

Born Peter Sagar in Edmonton, Alberta, Homeshake has built a rather small yet strong fanbase in the world of jizz-jazz. Having been the touring guitarist for Mac DeMarco (what feels like decades ago), Sagar has left that life, moved to Montreal with his girlfriend, and has since been creating some of the most interesting, experimental, and truly enjoyable music of the last many years.

Homeshake has built a very unique style of music for himself. His first cassette, The Homeshake Tape, and his first LP, In The Shower, were very melodic and jazzy instrument-based releases. The guitars led the music and the offbeat rhythm section fit the sounds like a ragged, half-forgotten glove laying in the snow; all while the sweet, soft voice of Homeshake sang sweet songs about the sweetest love.

He has since been evolving his style to include more synthesizers and drum machines, and blew everyone’s mind with his most successful LP, 2015’s Midnight Snack, which featured some of the most jazzy combinations of guitars, keyboards and funky basslines in modern music.

It seems now with Fresh Air, Homeshake is continuing that trend. Finding most of his sounds in the late ’80s, this record is like a slightly more synth-heavy sister to Midnight Snack.

On the first side of the record, we find two of the singles: “Call Me Up” and “Every Single Thing,” which are pretty great exemplifiers of the type of sound that can be found on the record. The bass is big and bouncy, the drums are snappy and mostly electronic, and the lead melody is led by a soft, R&B inspired synthesizer.

To the preference of some, and to the displeasure of others, this album has the least amount of real instruments. Unfortunately, the absence of Sagar’s unique style of guitar-playing is heavily felt, and one can only imagine how much better the record would be had there been more guitar leads rather than synth leads. Aside from the minute-long intro, there isn’t a guitar on the first side of the record until the sixth track: “Getting Down Pt. II (He’s Cooling Down),” which is an allusion to his previous songs “Getting Down” and “He’s Heating Up.”

Arguably the best song on the album, “TV Volume,” is led entirely by a very snazzy, wah-wah guitar along with an absolutely killer guitar solo that plays twice and adds some much needed guitar-based funk reminiscent of In the Shower’s “Making a Fool of You.”

The very next track, “Khmlwugh,” is an electronic masterpiece. A Kandinsky of electronica. Being the most similar in style to the tracks on Midnight Snack, the awkwardly-titled song is the most relaxing song on the album, as an eerie synth climbs down a ladder of pitch and simultaneously falls upward onto a waterfall of tempo and dynamics; all the while the voice of Sagar softly tells us the meaning behind the song: kissing, hugging, making love, waking up and getting high. Or rather, khmlwugh.

Another guitar-based gem is the record’s titular track. With a slow, seemingly perpetually ascending but never descending chord progression, “Fresh Air” sounds exactly like a breath of fresh air. There really is no better way to describe it. Not only is it a breath of fresh air for a album which until that point was heavily synth-led, it feels like a mild reinvention of the human spirit took place, as the wind howls above the sounds of the instruments as Sagar sings about walking out into the cold for a breath of fresh air. It’s the perfect track to summarize the laid-back and therapeutically calm atmosphere of the record as a whole.

Once again, Homeshake has taken a huge step into solidifying his place as the most inventive jizz-jazzer in the short but lively genre of music. With Fresh Air, Homeshake has proven that there is no other artist capable of producing such soothing music as he single-handedly is able to.