Now is the aptly named debut album from Montreal indie-rock stalwart Jesse Mac Cormack, whose epically scaled, structurally restless songs focus your attention on the present moment and rarely retrace their steps en route to their glorious peaks. As a singer-songwriter, Mac Cormack is blessed with the sort of smooth, deeply emotive voice that sounds tailor-made for sunset festival sets, but—as can be instantly gleaned from the post-Radiohead twitch of the opening “Give a Chance”—he’s got the musical mind of a mad scientist. Mac Cormack is fond of steering even his most straightforward songs (like the splendorous future soul of “No Love Go” and Verve-style acoustic groover “To the End”) into freaky sonic territory, and casting his gritty roots-rock turns (like the title track) against densely textured, mutating psychedelic backdrops. But the most awe-inspiring moment comes in the midst of the deceptively simple ballad “Passageway,” which rests on a gentle organ bed: Instead of dropping the expected heart-tugging chorus, Mac Cormack opens up a huge M83-worthy synth vista that makes you feel like you’re floating in the clouds above a big city at night.

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