SEAN NICHOLAS SAVAGE “Mutual Feelings of Respect and Admiration”
SEAN NICHOLAS SAVAGE "Mutual Feelings of Respect and Admiration"
After a prolific run of folk and pop records, Sean Nicholas Savage woke up one day and decided he wanted to make a disco record. Following the dulcet tones and class struggle that defined Movin’ Up In Society, Mutual Feelings of Respect and Admiration is primed to be a breakthrough record for one of Canada’s most beloved underground singer-songwriters. With extremely ambitious remix and production work by David Carriere (Silly Kissers), the album has gone from a humble dancing bean in Savage’s mind to a fully realized mutant disco epic.
At times recalling UK grime and Italo disco, this is clearly a contemporary piece of hybrid music. Skirting the line between real and unreal with live instrumentation used in concert with electronic treatments and effects, it’s a sonically adventurous affair. It’s the most modern and experimental Savage has ever sounded, but this is juxtaposed by this songwriter’s greatest strength: his ability to convey the simple pleasures of life, love and friendship in a way that feels conversely omnipresent yet still original. It’s not an easy task but Sean regularly accomplishes it.
On Mutual Feelings, this emotional clarity has reached it’s apex. Leaving behind the romantic tumult that has painted some of his greatest songs (“Heart Wish”, “Kisses Like A Girl”, “Movie Star”), Sean is happy now. But that doesn’t mean his music has to suffer as a result of such prosperity. These are widescreen songs, baroquely constructed pocket pop symphonies that offer deceptively complex arrangements. The earnest lyrics combine with organic electronic and live accompaniment in a truly unique way.
Every Sean Nicholas Savage album features at least one bonafide smash hit. 2009′s Spread Free Like A Butterfly brought us “Heart Wish”, a song about the time-honoured “best friend’s girl” trope that captivated Montreal’s lo-fi pop community. With Movin’ Up In Society, “Gemini Heart” came out of the mire of the rest of that album’s class warfare as a vibrant ramshackle tribute to the unpredictability of romance.
Here, we have the feather in Sean’s dance cap, a song about disco dancing called “Disco Dancing”. A soaring, triumphant vocal turn from Savage is complimented by the detailed programming of Carriere, with the ornate fluting of Jane Penny (Silly Kissers) melting into synth and touches of strings and musique concrete. It’s danceable music but it isn’t revisionist ’70s disco either. It is instantly familiar, existing somewhere outside of time. Perfect for someone like Savage.
From the futuristic tribal rhythms and animal sounds of “Friendship” to pastoral elegance and challenging arrangement of “Yes I Need You”, Mutual Feelings Of Respect And Admiration has numerous sonic touchstones but manages to remain autonomous and exciting.