Everybody has that one friend who’s down for whatever. Turn up, turn down, or turn in they’re a reliable good time regardless of the circumstances and you’re always happy to have them around. Peter Sagar’s latest album under his affable pseudonym HOMESHAKE is that friend and Helium is guaranteed to be a welcome addition to your musical rotation no matter what’s on the schedule.
Owing a sonic debt to genre pioneers like Toro Y Moi, Neon Indian, and Washed Out, Helium is solidly a chillwave album that frequently veers closely to the ambient electronics found in the discographies of Ghostly International artists such as Shigeto. But while the influences are strong, Sagar avoids the cliché and wears those microgenre conventions like a comfortably broken in denim jacket covered with the patches and pins of his favorite bands. Sticky, sweet, and delectably creamy, Helium is like a generous dollop of orange sherbet served up in an oversized waffle cone on a hot summer day. Refreshing and indulgent but requiring quick consumption before it inevitably melts down your fingers in thick basslines onto the pavement.
The album is loosely divided into three parts separated by short vignettes that serve to move the story along. The first sequence feels like a spartan but tastefully furnished penthouse apartment. There’s a lot of room inside these songs, but every instrument is carefully curated and placed with extreme precision like sonic furniture that invites you to sit down and relax just as much as it encourages you to walk around and examine the space like an art installation. Whether you choose to take a load off on a vintage Eames sofa or stay on your feet and move to the music is up to you and HOMESHAKE is here to be your musical enabler whatever your decision.
After the sparse piano and guitar interlude in which your other friends “Trudi And Lou” arrive at the apartment things start to pick up. The songs here feel bigger, building into a vibe similar to an afternoon spent day drinking Aperol Spritz at a favorite rooftop bar. Despite the musical precision, Sagar keeps everything in an inviting soft focus simultaneously evoking feelings of warm nostalgia and chemically enhanced good times that never seem to end.
Inevitably, though, you’ve probably had a little too much fun. The sun has sunk below the horizon and the soft focus has started to progress into full on double vision. Even at the end, HOMESHAKE has your back. The final sequence has Sagar walking you home, back to that deluxe apartment in the sky and making sure you’re safely tucked in on that sofa that is no longer an Eames but the most plush and comfortable couch you’ve ever encountered. As you sink into dreamland getting lost in the cushions, you’re already looking forward to the next time you can hang with your best bud, your Homeshake, and get as high as Helium.