Homeshake, also known as Peter Sagar, is a Montreal-born and Toronto-based artist known for his mellow sound and poignant lyricism. Under the Weather, his fifth studio album, is a 12-track confession of depression and isolation. Although Sagar wrote the morose album in 2019 after mental health struggles secluded him from the world, its release is timely in the context of a prolonged pandemic.
“People will probably think that I made Under the Weather during or about COVID-19,” Sagar said. “I was just already living my life that way.”
Sagar’s lyrics of personal distress are widely relatable. Each track explores a different aspect of depression with lyrics so honest they could be from the artist’s diary. The project’s hazy sound resonates like the fogginess of an anxious brain. Overall, the album is delicate and mellow, with passing songs melting into one another in the same slow, honeyed tempo.
“Oftentimes when you are in a dark place, you are supposed to journal, and that helps release the pressure,” Sagar said. “For me, it always found its way into the music.”
However, such repetition also becomes the album’s main flaw. While some songs rise above the album’s homogenous nature, such as “Passenger Seat” and “Tenterhooks,” others become buried underneath the stronger tracks. “Feel Better” and “Careless,” for example, fail to depart from each track’s formulaic make-up. Still, the album’s consistency does bring a sense of comfort and familiarity, with the melancholia of the album serving as the perfect remedy for the beginning-of-class blues. While the imitative tracklist prevents the album from reaching its full potential, Under the Weather is definitely worth a listen for its empathetically brooding tone.