Thursday, October 04, 2007

Patrick Watson - Close to Paradise

California born, Canadian bred, and newly anointed 2007 Polaris Music Prize winner Patrick Watson resembles an eclectic mix of M. Ward's hushed tones and melodic sensibilities, Jeff Buckley's symphonic feel, and Coldplay's (X&Y version) electronica tinged pop. If this all sounds like too much at once, well, it isn't. On the newest effort Close to Paradise, Patrick Watson and his band are able to meld the various musical forms he explored when he was younger going through school to create a clean indie pop record. Certain songs tend to swirl around in atmospheric ways but never drift out of touch with reality, and that restraint is something to be commended. Guitar lines pull back simple chord changes riffed on the piano at the perfect times. The entire album plays out as if it has a story to tell, much in the same way a great soundtrack to a movie carries a narrative. Some were incredibly surprised this album took home the honor of the Polaris, considering it was up against stiff competition with the likes of The Arcade Fire, the darling Feist, and Junior Boys. Instead the committee chose to help out an underdog with its $20,000 prize. In this case it was a great decision, since upcoming music deserves to have a spotlight shed on it from time to time. There's a video for the song below, here.

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