Montreal singer/songwriter Sean Nicholas Savage is an integral pillar in the area’s community of ingenious and unique musicians changing the very landscape in which they experiment upon. Alongside the likes of Grimes and Mac DeMarco, Savage has proudly showcased his characterful qualities and boldly stepped away from the conventions of pop, punk and rock. He has been tirelessly recording and releasing since his debut in 2008 and has already released ten albums thus far, this eleventh edition titled ‘Other Death’ is one of Sean’s most sophisticated cuts so far.
The vocal mixes have a larger quality and the production values all compliment an overall consistency to the record without losing any of Savage’s fractured edges. Following on from the style identified on ‘Bermuda Waterfall’ released last year, ‘Death’ and ‘Propaganda’ make for one large and luscious opening track with Metronomy style instrumentals matched with Prince-like vocals as Sean weaves his wistful tales throughout the verses before a deeply soulful chorus with an instant melodic hook. Channeling more soul than ever into his lo-fi pop sound, ‘Don’t B Sad’ produced by fellow outer scene musician TOPS has an irresistible groove with deep bass lines permeating against ghostly vocal layering offering a sense of celeste.
‘Suburban Nights’ relies solely on a strong piano melody to offer some form of order as Savage trips up over his own thoughts in this disjointed track which features more Prince-like high notes on an untidy chorus of snare beats and yet more vocal layers. ‘Delta Fresh N Breezy’ best demonstrates Sean’s ability to take something that appears demo-like in quality and include it in a body of work with complete integrity. It seems part Tarantino soundtrack and part post-punk jam session, his unpredictable vocal tethers the two polar points together. The left field experimentation of ‘Casablanca’ could have sat neatly on Blood Orange’s latest LP and is a clear downtempo highlight that has space to expand and allow breath into when taken up onto the big stage.
A proud outsider and willingness to experiment has seen Sean Nicholas Savage’s reputation increase dramatically across the globe and through his supportive network of the Arbutus label as well as peers including Doldrums and Majical Clouds he is undoubtedly an artist free of restraint and conformity. Through this creative release he has been able to develop sounds organically and the culmination is an ever-increasingly qualified sound that moulds old school vocals with cutting edge production techniques and the finest lo-fi beats and instrumentals. In an age of recreation, imitation and endless sampling it is important to see artists such as Savage continue to bring daring and confident music such as ‘Other Death’ to the masses.
Other Death Released September 18 on Arbutus Records