Canada’s Scalawag beckons nostalgia with album Sehnsucht

Queer songwriter and producer Scalawag simmers with unfiltered emotion and raw feeling on their 2023 record ‘Senhsucht’

Compared to the likes of Sufjan Stevens, Angie McMahon and the beloved Hozier, Scalawag offers their own brand of heartbreak and abstract reflection.

With their sophomore album, Scalawag seeks to seduce with the pure essence of vulnerability. Leaving an ache for things one has never experienced, Scalawag is gentle in their siphoning to the surface of long forgotten hurts.

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Opening with the Bon Iver-style ‘Fleeting,’ Scalawag introduces their deep and soothing vocal, sweeping acoustic guitar and sparse yet purposeful percussion.

Sounding as if pulled from the Call Me By Your Name film soundtrack, Scalawag entices and calmly entraps.

‘HeyDay’ takes things to a shadowy realm, simmering with subtle drama and pulling generously from early Hozier.

With a talent for melodic writing and poignant lyricism, Scalawag sounds both seasoned and youthful.

‘First Steps’ is impossibly soft, bringing focus to their harmonies and beautiful natural tone.

Again, sounding like a track from the highly praised New Moon (The Twilight Saga) soundtrack, they have an undeniable talent for bringing scenes and images to mind. ‘Sleep Alone’ channels Lucy Dacus, and the more classical tones of Leonard Cohen.

Brass, brush strokes on a snare and layered vocals make up the sonic universe of Scalawag.

‘Run Away’ introduces a piano, a jazzy energy present in the vocal musings and cross-stick hits that explode into a full-blown fusion moment.

‘You On My Mind’ feels like a lullaby, one that proves as a great example of Scalawag’s generous songwriting and poetry. ‘Touch’ launches into an alt-country universe, one that showcases an entirely new side of Scalawag’s temperament.

A harmonica and an acoustic guitar are all that they need for ‘Made Of,’ another youthful exploration of first love.

‘Nobody Leaves’ is ghostly and spacious, reminiscent of darker Ben Howard moments.

The closing track, ‘Spinning Faster,’ feels vaguely more experimental.

Modern jazz, gentle piano and a looping melody show Scalawag’s musical talent in a different shade, one that remains most memorable.

Listen to ‘Sehnsucht’ in full below/