Homeshake, the Canadian lo-fi, solo-project of Peter Sagar were met by adoring fans at Manchester Academy, all there to experience in-person Sagar’s laid-back production mingled with his soulful melodies.
Sagar, the former live guitarist for Mac Demarco has recently birthed a fourth record, Helium, under the Homeshake solo-project. It’s the latest instalment added to the back-catalogue of LP’s filled with electronic styled ‘bedroom beats’ and falsetto vocals. The latest release relies less on guitars and more on dreamy synths; lending to an abundance of melting, off-key sounds that characterise the record.
The venue, and its atmosphere that evening, did the show no favours. Their soothing synths and relaxed beats (both live and electronic) were undermined by the drone of incessant chattering. The sleepy, warm tunes that Homeshake are famed for were not suited to the relatively large audience in the hollow room. Their sound better resonates somewhere with a low-ceiling, bare brick walls, orange-glow candles, you know the kind of vibe.
Opening the set, a drowsy intro played on keys by the humble frontman was a sweet introduction to the nonchalance of the new album. The room soon became a sea of bobbing heads as the band jumped into the well-loved track ‘She Can’t Leave Me Here Alone Tonight’. Throughout the set, the audience’s excitement was unmatched for some of the more recognisable songs, including the warped ‘Give it to me’ and ‘khmlwugh’.
Although Sagar’s shy vocals may have been slightly overwhelmed by the crowd, they did not lack soul or character. Similarly, the band can’t be discredited for their playing skills. However, there was a moment of contradiction when the eager audience started clapping a fast beat in the break between two songs. Sagar interrupted – telling them to stop with a bashful smile.
Usually, the music of Homeshake thrives in the headphones of fans, listening alone late at night. Out on the stage though, shared in a venue buzzing with people, the music felt too exposed despite the dexterity Peter Sagar and co displayed.