Published May 09, 2014Riding 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. Those naked, Arthur Russell-y vocals are so impassioned they're almost opera, and songs like "Naturally" and "Heartless" are the musical equivalent of an actuallygrimes Tumblr post, rejecting irony and self-consciousness while refusing to commodify their uncoolness. Instead, the record harnesses its emotional resources to grant the listener the sweet spectacle of watching self-awareness disintegrate as the artist wriggles free from postmodern detachment, and rediscovers that most undervalued asset: his vulnerability. (Arbutus)