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Alternative folk artist The Last Optimist aka Boston musician Markus Belanger is back with a new album called seed water sun. After a couple of more stripped back efforts, this new offering is more lushly produced by Doug Kwartler. Ever topical, Belanger and his new batch of songs deal with the current state of the world, but as usual a sense of peace and meditative calm descend over the proceedings, as if providing comfort in uncertain and depressing times. Sonically, the album is influenced by both old and new, with a list ranging from Leonard Cohen to Phoebe Bridgers.
Belanger is joined by singer Danielle Pinals on a couple of songs that are real standouts on the album, especially the dreamy album opener “Not a Sound.” There’s a harder edge to the more overtly political “Only Two Ways Out” and a burst of energy with the joyous “One Night in Belfast.” The album ends with the epic six minute “On Monkton Ridge” where vocally he channels his inner Tom Waits. The song closes with a little over a minute of nature sounds, providing a moment of reflection for the listener and reminding them of the good that does exist in the world. With everything produced by The Last Optimist, the results are deceptively ambitious and the true power of seed water sun grows by completely immersing yourself in the album.
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