Monday, December 10, 2012

Patrick Watson - Adventures in Your Own Backyard (2012)

While I was introduced to Montreal singer/songwriter Patrick Watson earlier this year in name alone through Andrew Bird, it was actually the excitement of Nashville singer/songwriter Justin Branam to see him in concert that really made me take notice and dig in. The result being about a intensive 4 hours listening session of everything I could get my hands on from the man. All worth it.

From the airy piano intro of "Lighthouse", Patrick Watson manages to easily transport you to a world of his own creation: where the mundane is elevated and infused with a sense of wonder and awe. Where wild-eyed innocence is paired with Watson's emotive power and aided infinitely by Watson's feathery light barely there vocals.  Songs like "Words in the Fire", "Into Giants", "Small Crooked Road" transform moments like a campfire hang, falling in love, or just going for a walk are given magical, life-changing significance.

What appealed to me most about Watson in general is the core of what makes Adventures in Your Own Backyard work so well. Watson makes genuinely interesting music that has all the complexity of a seasoned multi-instrumentalist while also appearing to be rather simple at least in delivery. Compositionally, Watson's songs are works of art that anyone can enjoy. The rugged experimentalism of albums past (Wooden Arms in particular) is subtler and less obvious and turned more toward inventive songwriting than innovating song construction. That's not to say there's not anything impressive about Patrick Watson's songcraft this time around but rather the main focus is the lyrics and rightly so. Adventures n Your Own Backyard is a series of songs grounded in reality but given tall-tale like stature - artfully arranged into giant lush masterpieces bursting at the seams with effortless beauty. A stunning display not only of Watson's own talents but those of his gifted comrades.

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