By Ray LaMontagne
Mentioning the name Ray Lamontagne, one of the more successful and respected of the recent tidal wave of unashamed singer-songwriters to have broken the mainstream, will immediately conjure up notions of heart-felt and beautifully crafted songs in people's minds - and, of course, that raspy, expressive voice which gave his work that extra edge on his striking debut. "Three More Days" seems rather a step away from previous singles; the voice is still there but this is arguably more commercially viable than previous work. The main element that comes through on a first listen is how 'soul' it sounds - we've even got a fully fledged brass section - but then comes the realisation that the songwriting for which Lamontagne was so admired has gone rather pedestrian. Clearly, in an attempt to avoid being to drastically different or releasing doppelgangers of previous songs, "Three More Days" has fallen between stools. While impossible to accuse the new single of being "Trouble" or "How Come" re-worked, it's fairer to say that Lamontagne has used the same formula but started off with slightly different figures to feed through. The result is pleasant enough and certainly spirited but it seems sadly deficient in the sparkle of previous work.
To avoid overly criticising "Three More Days" for not being a replica - music has to change to survive, and so on - it has to be said there are some divine moments. The guitar fills are jazzy and funky, the brass's contribution does add a lot of interest to the song, and the spot of chromaticism in the pre-chrous with the tonal resolution for the chorus makes me smile every time. Besides, at the end of the day, who could resist such a strong and soulful voice? File this under catchy little number for a grey day - it will really come in to its own in the approaching cold weather when your SAD will leave you longing for something to brighten things up.