If you like your shower with a side of jazz and Twilight Zone, Homeshake’s new album on Sinderlyn/Bad Actors may be your spirit animal. Homeshake is the side project of Peter Sagar, better known for playing guitar with Mac DeMarco. Following the Dragon Ball Z-inspired release, The Homeshake Tapes, In the Shower is similarly strange and eclectic, with smooth, sliding vocals and wonky instrumentation. The name fits, albeit at times a la Psycho, with creepy voiceovers and unsettlingly discordant refrains.
Working out of Montreal, originally from Edmonton, Sagar draws intense inspiration from his frosty homeland. The album was recorded this last winter at Montreal’s Drones Club with the help of close friend Mike Wright. The feel is cool, in both senses of the word, with subtly grooving basslines and funky, tremolo-soaked guitar riffs. Homeshake’s bread and butter is the music Sagar jams on with his friends, and even the band’s name was derived from their handshake back home.
“Chowder,” second on the album and the first to catch my ear, is an off-kilter love song steeped in extraterrestrial vocals and guitar that smacks of a Brazilian bossa nova. Strangely clever lyrics add charm: “Sitting there just staring at the trees / Jonesing for a little of that cream / We’ll lock the door behind tonight / And leave a light on for your eyes / She’s my chowder and I love her so much.”
“Making a Fool of You,” the standout at number four, is funky, melodic, and mellow. The catchy refrain is accentuated with warbling guitar and a stop and go rhythm that delivers an elastic groove. Sagar’s runny vocals lend themselves well to the sedate track.
“Michael” is next, adding an upbeat, instrumental interlude to the mix that quickly dissolves into “Cash is Money.” A steady ditty about taking a woman for all she’s worth, Sagar exercises his funny bone: “She can’t believe it but I don’t love you anymore / I just don’t feel it even though the cash flow keeps me warm.” “Slow,” at number eight, introduces a dreamy vibe with meandering complexity that is a stark contrast to the stripped sound of earlier tracks.
And then, there’s “The Shower Scene.” Set over a slow, jazzy jam and running water, the voiceover returns, tinkering between a pornographic Family Guy character and the masked omen of death in the Saw franchise. Not exactly what I want to hear in the deadliest room of the household, but hey, it’s cool if that’s your thing.
In the Shower is an altogether odd experience. Light humor and several delightfully funky melodies add substance, but the utterly unsettling gimmicks cheapen the concept. The album won’t leave you feeling clean, but if you let it wash over you, you’ll be sure to uncover a couple of gems.