Release Date: May 13, 2014
Record label: Arbutus Records
You’ve got to expect a fair amount of sleaze from an album that opens with a song called ‘Boogie Nights’, and sure enough, Canadian lounge lizard Sean Nicholas Savage delivers plenty of lusty leers and broken harmonies. Lead single ‘Naturally’, in which he thinks of his beloved as “someone so beautiful, coming so easily”, is a case in point. Deep down though, our Sean is a romantic.
It begins with ‘Boogie Nights’ - a title that couldn’t get any more Sean Nicholas Savage if it tried. Since emerging in 2008, the 27-year-old Canadian has produced serene, richly refined pop music that meanders from the sickly sweet to the succulently smooth. No matter which entry point is taken into his now extensive discography, the themes tend to remain the same, with romance, relationships and true love always being approached by Savage in an over-the-top, Hollywood-esque way.
Riding high after overlooked classic Flamingo, Sean Nicholas Savage returned in 2013 with Other Life, an enjoyably ragtag prayerbook for the spiritually muddled. That record established the singer-songwriter as the lo-fi laureate of Montreal's introvert underground, and there's a similar disregard for fashion and fidelity on Bermuda Waterfall. Quivering Bontempis and pained mewls set the scene before keyboard drumkits join the mix to establish a groove as robust as Savage's heart, which is to say not very.Reach below the surface, though, and you'll touch an acrobatic soul.
Originally from Edmonton, then adopted by Arbutus's DIY loft scene in Montreal, eccentric singer/songwriter Sean Nicholas Savage has put forth his most impressive (and coherent) album yet. His 10th in six years, Bermuda Waterfall is a pop record through and through. But what makes it so original is Savage's sincerity, a quality often lacking in the genre.
Sean Nicholas Savage wrote most of Bermuda Waterfall, his 11th studio album since 2008, when traveling while "Trying to describe my most potent dreams related to my most potent life experiences. " This is mostly a fancy way of saying he’s a songwriter, but Savage has a memorable way of describing the sights of an otherwise common life. A sun is not a sun, but "a five billion year old fire"; a broken relationship is not a broken relationship, but an "empire of hate.
On his spirited 2013 full-length, Other Life, Montreal-based songwriter Sean Nicholas Savage presented a set of strong dramatic pop with roots in '80s quiet storm and sophistipop like the Blue Nile and the Art of Noise, his velvety voice crooning through more avant readings of these straightforward reference points. Just a single year later, Bermuda Waterfall materialized, with Savage recapitulating some of the daydreamy glory of Other Life and subtly switching up the smoothed-out styles of that album for more diverse fare. Songs like "Empire" are still incredibly true to the late-night '80s soul vibes of previous albums, complete with cheap keyboard tones sitting high in the mix and gelling with falsetto vocals, watery bass, and slinky percussion to create an impressive throwback groove.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. The last time I wrote about Sean Nicholas Savage was less than a year ago, when I reviewed his Other Life LP. It's hardly a surprise to find myself discussing another full-length of his so soon, though; the ferocity of his work ethic is well-established at this point. He made a slew of early releases - including no fewer than three albums in 2011 alone - available via cassette, and Other Life carried with it a decidedly unrefined sound that certainly fit neatly with the antiquity of his chosen medium of deliverance.
Once called an “all-around scene-pillar”, Edmonton’s lo-fi viscount Sean Nicholas Savage returns for his eleventh (surely that’s not right?) record since 2008. He’s got a special place at the head of the table in Canada’s local indie scene, gaining a meaty rep at Arbutus (home of Grimes and Doldrums) and producing some of the most eclectic contemporary Canadian sounds. He’s not one for lingering too long one any one idea, style or theme, and, true to form, this new LP – entitled Bermuda Waterfall – wheels off in another direction, and we see the eminent wordsmith delve into pop repartee and sleek night-time lo-wave synthery.