Close to Paradise

Close to Paradise

by Patrick WatsonPatrick Watson


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Before starting his quartet, Patrick Watson explored a variety of musical forms, from rock to electronica, and though Close to Paradise is clean indie pop, these other influences show up in the album frequently. A Coldplay for the hipster crowd (that's X&Y-era Coldplay, not Parachutes Coldplay), Watson and his band write lush, ethereal, spacey melodies that swell into Jeff Buckley-esque symphonies or relax into measured shoegazer riffs; there are hints of ambient too, the way everything tends to swirl and coalesce, the occasional subtle drum programming, the stuttering loops, but there's also chamber pop in the string arrangements and piano arpeggios and even, at times, a tendency toward cabaret. But despite all these things happening, the album never comes across as busy or overwhelming. In part this is thanks to the Canadian folk influence -- the moan of the lap steel, the flitting banjo -- that sweeps over everything like a prairie wind, Neil Young allusions and all, grounding the pieces in simple chord changes or wisping lines, but it's also very much because of guitarist Simon Angell (from Watson's high school ska band Gangster Politics), who adds his lightly distorted electric guitar at just the right moments, just when the dreamy piano seems to be moving too far outward into unstructured territory. In "Drifters," for example, Watson's trippy vocals echo off one another, but before it becomes too dancey, Angell comes in with strong, classical chords, pulling the piece toward something lush and orchestrated like what the Dears, rather than BT, might do. With "Slip into Your Skin" he uses his instrument to different effect, waiting until the song is more than halfway done before he plays his slow but frantic-sounding riff; it's sparse but it's deliberate and necessary, short lines of dialogue that bring the plot together with the characters and the setting. In fact, Close to Paradise plays like a film soundtrack more than anything else, from the Cirque du Soleil vamping of "Weight of the World" to the Peter Pan-esque twinkling of "Daydreamer," backing the story of some sunken-shouldered traveler as he walks, or floats, across the plains. Entrancing, to say the least.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/03/2006
Label: Secret City Records
UPC: 0068944700226
catalogNumber: 2

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Patrick Watson   Primary Artist,Piano,Vocals
Simon Angell   Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Electric Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar
Jean Massicotte   Vocals
Mélanie Auclair   Cello
Anne Marie Leblanc   Cello,String Quartet
Robbie Kuster   Percussion,Piano,Drums,Marimbas,Background Vocals,Saw
Elizabeth Powell   Background Vocals
Louis Pierre Bergeron   French Horn,Horn Ensemble
Genevive Boufford   Trombone,Horn Ensemble
Katie Moore   Background Vocals
Mishka Stein   Electric Bass
Brigitte Henry   Background Vocals
Elisabeth Powell   Background Vocals
John Corbau   Violin
Simon Angdt   Acoustic Guitar
Marjolaine Lambert   Violin
Anne-Marie Leblanc   Cello
Marilou Robitaille   Violin
Jonathan Cayu   Organ
Jean-Nicholas Trothier   Trombone
Jasmin Frenetle   Trombone
Phillipe Legault   Tuba

Technical Credits

Dave Smith   Audio Production
Patrick Watson   Composer,Producer,drum programming,Audio Production
Jean Massicotte   Engineer,Audio Production
Sébastien Blais Montpetit   Engineer
Robbie Kuster   Composer
Mishka Stein   Composer
Tace Lasek   Audio Production

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