- By Request!
Spotify Listen Link: Patrick Watson – Adventures In Your Own Backyard
My cousin Stephanie suggested these guys, saying she saw them live and thought they were great - so really excited to see how everything measures up!
Patrick is a 33-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter from Montreal (been there, loved that). Wiki described the band's blend as "cabaret pop and classical music." The one we're looking at today is with the full band (though Patrick as a solo album as well), with their most recent 2012 release.
"Lighthouse" is the first track on this album. It leads in with this absolutely gorgeous piano falling group of notes. Then the singing starts, and it's sweet, light, and airy. The music almost seems to move with the voice, instead of the other way around, giving the whole thing so much feeling. Ever so slightly, a bass is starting to keep beat behind things, and echoes are creeping in. Think, maybe, Jack Johnson combined with Bon Iver? And yah know, just as I type that, this incredibly different Western theme comes into play with some horns, throwing the song into a different spin entirely. I'm conflicted on this one, but I'd be willing to listen again to let it sink in. Plus they did this kind cool set and filmed it at the Village Underground Stage:
"Step Out For A While" is about as "normal" as I think we're going to get (just a gut feeling). The drum set is in play for the beat, breaking out here and there. The guitar is keeping a steady rhythm. The vocals have deeper dynamics from time to time even. I'm trying to place where I've heard this sound before, because I know I have… but I'm at a loss for the moment. Maybe a little Jack White is in there, but with far more echo on the mic. Yah know what, I get why this is so confusing to listen to… the tempo has to be a key to that reasoning at least. One moment ur hearts are racing in anticipation of the next musical move, the next we're ready to hit the pillow for the night.
In one that I have no expectations of anything loud, we're on to "Quiet Crowd." This is one of those albums that is super hard to listen to after a long day at work - it's so gentle. There's an underlying piano line to this though, giving this a carnival-style oddness to it. In fact, I'd go so far as to make a comparison to Danny Elfman here. Wait, huh? Okay, at around two minutes, everything goes quiet and picks back up into almost a whole different song that doesn't quite seem to fit until it gets going. Let's call it a second movement or something, but if you've see the "Mr. Kite" scene of "Across the Universe," you know precisely what I'm picturing right now, only slightly more in slow motion. I don't know what it is here, but I am loving every second of this number. Let's hear it live at CBS's Glenn Gould Studio:
At about the halfway mark now. We're up to "Morning Sheets." While the opening twists the early morning sound just a little, there is something relatively sexy about the wrapping of the lyrics of entanglement. Psychedelic is about the only word I can think of right off the bat to sum is up (I also still can't spell that word right; thank you spell check). This song's largely driven by a guitar with so much reverb effect on it I can feel my computer speakers vibrating as I type. God this would have looked so cool coming from my old speakers.
I liked "Words in the Fire" immediately. I think it's the guitar technique that's so enjoyable. There's a Mumford & Sons feel to it, combined with just some really nice layering. I'm trying to focus in on the lyrics a little closer though - difficult task, given that he sings so whisp-y and high. While I can't get it all, something feels good about this song. There's something gentle and sweet, yet a feeling that there's something important embedded there. Am I getting weird on y'all here? Eh, I regret nothing. Patrick went home to Montreal to give us this video:
See now, "Strange Crooked Road" goes back to the other sound. Lyrics light and high up on the scale, and some cute little back beat. I think I sort of like what's happening here, and I could see it being popular for more folks. Again, all the effects and echoes placed on the music make you loose a lot of what's happening lyrically, and that's something that grates on my nerves just a little bit, being so lyrically-attached to so many other songs down the line. But I can certainly appreciate experimenting with sounds like this, creating a completely new thing to any listener's ears.
"Noisy Sunday" comes off at the start like the quietest little thing ever. Simple humming over some echoed out sounds. Singing doesn't even start until 0:45 in, and even then it's putting me to sleep. I can appreciate a title opposite of what a song winds up being, I just don't see the point of it in this case. If this is his idea of a noisy Sunday though, I'll take it. The sounds are exactly what some Sundays should be like - drifty and relaxing. Okay, there are some slightly odd wales of instruments in there that don't scream relaxing to me, but I'm trying to enjoy here.
Ugh, stupid non-awesome-work distractions. Missed half of this next song, "Adventures In Your Own Backyard," and I hate missing title track time. Anywhos, some sort of Western theme happening, which again, is very different, and certainly makes for a more interesting sound. An interesting sound once. It at least was interesting playing in the background. "Swimming Pools" is another instrumental, just sort of floating back there somewhere. I am lumping these together as my lost songs on the album.
Final song - must pull in focus for "The Things We Do." It has a closer feel to it, honestly. The song drag just slightly, like the end of a very long day. I think I mentioned "Across the Universe" earlier, and this is very reminiscent of Jude's sad walk through the city streets of Liverpool before he realizes he needs to go back to America. Things hurt just a little, but it's the pain before the goodness. I think. It could just be a song on the darker side of songs.
Added to My Playlist:
- "Quiet Crowd"
- "Morning Sheets"
- "Words in the Fire"
All right, final reaction? This is one of those "I don't hate it, but…" albums. I could listen to this again, easy, but it wouldn't be a personal choice. Stick me in a room where it's playing, and I promise I won't dive for the remote. Hell, I may even sway along from time to time, or get my foot tapping when there's a regular rhythm to be found.