While that first tune has a Middle Eastern, snake-charmer vibe, with shaking bells and something that engenders a desire for pince-nezzes and fezzes, the finisher is more indie rock. Lavoie lowers his vocals, gets more direct, and counters that seriousness with synth percussion hits straight out of a Rocky II slo-mo retrospective. A cynical listener might wonder if some of this is meant to be ironic.
It's damned earnest, though. At one point in "City Mouse," after a fog-horn-like drone supports a reverbed vocal and acoustic strums and sneering distortions, the arrangement grows to such a cacophony it's a little like that one-man-band guy who plays in the Boston Public Garden all summer, a manic craze of effort: "City streets at night/They still got that smell."
Combine all of this with a recording style that adds real depth to the instruments, so that they are to the right and left and in front of you, and the effect is very much like taking up residence inside Lavoie's head. You're seeing the music through his eyes, and it's an intimate experience. Like many intimate experiences, it can be a little overwhelming at times, but there's a nice payoff if you see the thing through. ^
SHASHASHA | Released by Dominic Lavoie | with Herbcraft + Gabrielle Raymond | at One Longfellow Square, in Portland | November 2 | facebook.com/shashashamusic
: Music Features
, The Beatles, Paul McCartney, Dominic Lavoie