Patrick Watson's waves of melancholy
With his superb album "Wave", the Canadian reminds us of his skill at constructing melancholia-infused, stripped-back pop music.
How nice it is to find a musician who doesn’t exhaust himself by releasing loads of overly long tracks! We find ten songs here, and not one of them exceeds four and a half minutes. The result is a beautiful, compelling album, Wave, that recalls the 1970s and 80s.
Patrick Watson has a gift for structure and a taste for purity, which he proved in his enchanting album Adventures in Your Own Backyard in 2012. This new ten-episode fresco is drenched in melancholy, and the minimalist piano parts reflect the neoclassical influence that seems to be invading everything today, led by the likes of Jean-Michel Blais (Watson’s compatriot) and Alexis Ffrench to Dirk Maassen and, to a lesser extent, Nils Frahm.
The influence is perhaps most obvious in the pulsing, repetitive track Broken, which feels like a slow tarantella with a beautiful dramatic rise. The next track Turn Out the Lights heals and soothes, releasing any previous tensions, particularly thanks to the melodic contours and more varied instrumentation.
This new album Wave is largely homogeneous, enhanced by Patrick Watson’s husky, sensual voice. However, after the first nine nostalgia-tinged ethereal songs, one would never have expected such a lavish finale: Here Comes the River is like a present-day Imagine. It’s an unforgettable piece, and perhaps too short after all.