With rollicking string-led grooves, mighty folk melodies and a homespun Canadian lyricism coming together inside of nine tracks that could each act as a single on par with the starring “My Thousand Dollar Car,” Sébastien Lacombe’s Fly is undeniably the artist’s most mature collection of material so far. Running about thirty-three minutes in total, Fly is far from the longest LP you’re going to listen to before 2020 has expired – truth be told, it often feels more like a supersized LP than it does a proper album – but for all that it lacks in a packed tracklist, it more than compensates us for in a rare substance you just don’t find when clicking on the FM dial at random.

“My Thousand Dollar Car” is the most radio-ready song in this record, and its music video definitely feels like the theatrical intro to the album that every classic release needs to be regarded as such, but in some ways the track draws together components of others beside it into a sampling of Fly in general. “Rise,” “Gold in Your Soul” and “Mr. Suicide Man” exhibit much of the same realism in their lyrical premises, and while the rhythm of “When the Devil Rides with Me” is a lot more anxious, the same melodic moxie lies behind the spirit of both compositions in  equal measure. Lacombe doesn’t spread himself too thin here, but by all accounts I would say he’s making a point to give us contrast through the inclusion of songs like “So You Say” and “I Am Who I Am” beside more forward tunes in the title cut and even the lead single.

Even if you haven’t heard his work prior to this fall, it wouldn’t be right to skip out on what Sébastien Lacombe has assembled in the nine songs in Fly, starting of course with “My Thousand Dollar Car.” This album is a fantastic acquisition for newbies and longtimers alike, and anyone who keeps track of the Canadian and American undergrounds in 2020 is more than aware of how rare a remark that is for a critic to make about any LP.

Sebastian Cole