Total Eclipse Of The Heart
Coming off of the success of debut album Trouble, the bruising vocals and songwriting of Ray LaMontagne continues down the same melancholy path in Till the Sun Turns Black. The strong similarities in style and content between the two albums may be explained by LaMontagne reteaming with Trouble producer Ethan Johns. The moody acoustic picking in songs like “Be Here Now” and “Lessons Learned” could have been easily tagged onto the previous album. However, Till the Sun Turns Black has a great deal more going on in the background. LaMontagne experiments with a string section and fierce horns, often letting them take over parts of songs like “You Can Bring Me Flowers.” In “Truly, Madly, Deeply” intermingling strings take over the narration of a quiet instant in time. Listeners might not even notice the lack of vocals with the instruments so accurately depicting the gut-wrenching emotion in LaMontagne’s songs.
Till the Sun Turns Black holds the same tragic themes as Trouble. Loss and missing loved ones are key elements of the album; even the upbeat “Three More Days” conveys the anxiety of returning home. The love song “Barfly,” a duet with Rachael Yamagata, is all about sharing a moment before it disappears: “Kiss me before you go / I’m going nowhere lately.”
With all these aches and pains there is a calm that settles in by the end of the album. LaMontagne’s loneliness somehow dissipates as he realizes, “The answer is within you,” as Till the Sun Turns Black similarly shows there is an aching soul and an intricate maestro within LaMontagne.