Patrick Watson – Adventures In Your Own Backyard

May 23, 2012 No comments
Written by Dustin Cordeiro

★★★★☆

Picture this: It’s a warm summer day, the nicest it’s been in weeks, but instead of kicking off your shoes and running through the grass you’ve locked yourself inside to complete a mundane task that somehow claims great authority over your life. You may not even have to imagine it, because it’s probably happening right now. But orchestral-pop group Patrick Watson is here to take you away from all of that.

With their fourth album, Adventures in Your Own Backyard, Patrick Watson has refined his sound and crafted an undeniably charming effort with a spark that draws you in on the first listen. Unlike Watson’s past works, which featured experimental instrumentation using kitchen utensils and bicycle wheels, Adventures relies more on simple slow-building arrangements to carry the songs. Second track “Blackwind” still makes use of the slightly unconventional, glass marimba, but does so in a way that helps convey the record’s carefree sensibility.

Watson’s hovering falsetto gives songs like “The Quiet Crowd” the life it needs to inspire the reflective wonder they aim for. While the jaunty timing of “Into Giants” provides a needed break from the sweetness of the record, its simple chorus, “Started as lovers, don’t know where it’s gonna end” holds well to the album’s theme. We’re soon brought back to blissful wonder with the hazy imagery of “Morning Sheets,” which unfolds with the harmony of the first ray of sunlight peeking through an opening between curtains.

But the most telling moment of Adventures In Your Own Backyard occurs within the first seconds of the title-track when we’re reminded not only of the record’s skillful use of sparse instrumentation, but that some of the most thrilling adventures can occur twelve steps into your own backyard.

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