Always

Raveen

So Sorry, 2017

http://raven.band

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/10/2018

Montreal’s Raveen demand a lot from their music. On this debut album, the trio makes an impressive pop music statement that is no one else’s but their own. They do this by bringing together influences like jazz, R&B, psychedelic rock, chillwave, and trip hop into their unique musical space. Despite these disparate sources of inspiration, Always has a focused and singular sound, consisting of contemplative and achingly melodic slow to mid-tempo numbers with gorgeously intricate details, which will impress nearly any listener. In addition, there is a sense of romanticism that is a huge part of the identity of this album, which does come from the music, but more importantly, from frontman Eric Seguin’s divinely melancholic vocals. Altogether, the pop on this album is a special breed.nbtc__dv_250

The title track is the most sonically captivating and beautiful cut on the disc with its combination of haunting choral backing vocals, dreamy string arrangements, and soft but dark synths. But at just three minutes, “Always” is also a very abrupt number, a weak point that perpetuates on other songs as well by minimizing their overall experience to some extent or other.

For example, “How Does It Feel,” an airy and anthemic pop-rock cut, ends at around three and a half minutes, coming across as kind of premature. But at five and a half minutes long, the last two minutes of the track are filled with an unnecessary trippy musical piece that sounds as if it is possessed, further diminishing the number, which otherwise was so good and had so much promise.

The psychedelic and dark “What You’re Looking For” and the much simpler and poppy “400 Years” also have a couple minutes of unrelated musical pieces tacked on to them after the ending. And although not abrupt, both these songs seem short as well. However, the spacey additional music pieces in this case are truly cool, and even though unexpected and random, they in fact enhance both the cuts.

Always is elegantly produced with a warm sound. This comes with the group’s extensive usage of natural instrumentation and string and choir ensembles. This album is meant to be a masterpiece; yet it’s not. There is something lacking that makes it a very good record and not an absolutely great one – maybe it is a combination of occasional in-your-face over-sentimentality (like on “To The Bone” and “Almost Nothing”) and the absence of the same level of sophistication in the songwriting and composition as in the performance and production. But one thing’s for sure: Raveen is almost there, soon to come out with that blow-your-socks-off masterpiece.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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