HOMESHAKE – CD Wallet review: weaponising nostalgia with a deft touch

album artwork for HOMESHAKE - CD Wallet

Review

Rating
8/10
Rating
8.0/10

The full-length sixth solo album from Peter Sagar is thematically heady and as abstract as it is fully-formed. A music lover’s haven with teenage nostalgia in the front seat. 

You know the score with Peter Sagar by now. Indie rock fragments meander across the surface as snippets of anti-pop metamorphoses delightfully warm the ears. The brilliance of HOMESHAKE lies in that ability to play with the listener, indulging in tricks and whimsy, while still sticking to a solid plan (of sorts).

Album number six, CD Wallet, brings forth exactly the bare-bones minimalism that its title suggests. Sagar’s work centres itself around the guitar; manipulating and elongating those recognisable strings into murky shadows. The form of that guise warrants praise, too, but the equation is completed when Peter’s guitar is granted space to take on more earthly forms. Much of CD Wallet distils these familiar, drawn out synths that Peter frequents in his music, only further emphasising his obsession with the guitar.

Opening track ‘Frayed’ announces itself calmly; lo-fi guitar chords sparse drums accompany Peter as he narrates his trepidation. “How’s it feel? Waking up to get out of a dream / Barely real, but enough to be frayed at the seams”, his voice stacked into an echo. Then, with a pocky synth and descent of percussion, he’s off. 

‘Basement’ underscores the significance that teendom occupies throughout the album. A nod to the cherished home basement which acts as an anchor where he honed his craft through his teenage years. The track’s accompanying, Jim Larson-directed video shows Peter tinkering with instruments and familiar trinkets from days gone by.

CD Wallet’s nostalgic peak hits on ‘Mirror’ – with Sagar’s use of chiptune-esque inputs adding to the retro feel. The Edmonton artist finds himself reflecting, almost incessantly. “Showing up when it’s too late / In the dirt like a shoelace.” His delivery may be blunt, but the sentiment behind his words is that of deep introspection.

Losing yourself is part of the contract CD Wallet presents the listener. The 9-track project fully embraces this, taking you down a labyrinth maze and leaving you there to figure your way back out – while evoking a nostalgia that brings to mind those first foray’s into Daniel Johnston’s Hi, How Are You? or John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band. During these elongated instances of wistful solace, the album cradles you, like the blanket that wraps around you as rain rhythmically patters against the window. 

Crafted and recorded throughout the better part of 2023 in Peter’s personal studio in Toronto, this latest project serves as a simmering depiction of his upbringing in Edmonton and the homesick feeling we get when we think back to our salad days.

Every song here, even at their most sluggish, feels grand in their own way. A tribute tour of indie rock, shoegaze and various other genres, guided by one of the few artists and multi-instrumentalists with the range and intuition to pull it off.

Review

Rating
8/10
Rating
8.0/10
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