Boston MA-based alternative folk artist Markus Belanger a.k.a. The Last Optimist’s latest release “seed water sun” is packed with ethereal power. This LP follows his earlier two albums titled ‘make it alright with grace,’ and ‘this moment is gone.’ Although in the past, many described his music as ‘sad folk,’ it’s actually about being vulnerable, self-aware and unforgiving.
The present album “seed water sun” is inspired by the challenges faced in 2023. The year has been a rough ride with moments of rage and sadness. The respite and the solace that we are searching for find manifestation in this album. The music broadly falls under the genres of indie folk, indie rock and emo, similar to that of artists like Tom Waits, Julian Baker, Leonard Cohen, Phoebe Bridgers, Finnegan Tui, Decemberists and Ani DiFranco.
“Seed water sun” Tracklist
This album has the following nine tracks:
- Not A Sound (Feat. Danielle Pinals)
- Only Two Ways Out
- Bloom Now Sweet Flower (Feat. Danielle Pinals)
- Shame You Left Me
- Hermit In The Maples
- One Night In Belfast
- Love Is Like A Simile
- A Thousand Clover Leaves
- On Monkton Ridge
“Not A Sound” opens the album with a peaceful atmosphere of nature. Featuring beautiful vocals by Danielle Pinals, this slow-paced mesmerizing song about silence creates a dreamy ambiance with awe-inspiring ethereal acoustics. The melancholic vocals ooze the sincere feelings of pain and longing.
The second track “Only Two Ways Out” is altogether different from the opener. It’s a vibrant piece with introspective lyrics about war and soldiers. It urges to end the divisive politics that tries to rip us apart, and to instead provide us the space to reconnect with our communities.
The next track “Bloom Now Sweet Flower” is second of the two songs in Danielle Pinals’ voice. It is an inspirational piece that reminds us of the energy and positivity we once had in our childhood. The song reassures us that the energy is gone nowhere but is hidden inside us just like a seed. We just need to face the sun to let that seed take root.
“Shame You Left Me” is a hard-hitting song that talks about the wrong done to us in the early years of life, and encourages us to heal and move forward. With a clearly visible influence of great folk artists like Leonard Cohen, it features brilliant guitar solos.
“Hermit In The Maples” is a delightful ballad about a hermit looking back at his life. However, instead of loneliness, it’s more of his experience mixed with the transcendent consolation of nature.
“One Night In Belfast” stands out with jangly guitars and acoustics, while “Love Is Like A Simile” tells the story of enduring love with much gentler and soothing music.
“A Thousand Clover Leaves” is about lost love and a strong desire to bring those good old days back again in life. Markus co-wrote the lyrics for this song along with his sister Maggie McGinnis.
The album closes with “On Monkton Ridge,” a song Markus wrote for his dad. The hushed vocals with soft music describe the forgiveness journey he went through before his dad passed away.
“seed water sun” is a versatile album that delivers a wide variety of lyrical ideas, each in a different style. The ease with which The Last Optimist delivers it is a testament to his musical prowess.
More Info About The Last Optimist and “seed water sun”
Markus Belanger who works under the moniker The Last Optimist is a multi-instrumentalist and social activist based out of Boston MA. He harnesses the power of lyrics and music to help listeners find solace and heal from trauma.
Joining him in his latest project “seed water sun,” are Danielle Pinals (guest vocalist for two songs) and Doug Kwartler, another talented multi-instrumentalist. The album is produced by Doug Kwartler in Hollow Body Studios, Chelmsford MA.
Here are some quick links to help you learn more about The Last Optimist and his work: