Patrick Watson Close To Paradise: Deluxe Edition on 2LP + Download
New Deluxe Gatefold 2LP Edition with Bonus Track!
There was always something sexy about Purgatory. No one wants to hang out in Hell, but was Heaven ever really that appealing, either? How does that Talking Heads song go? "Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens..." Patrick Wilson's breakout 2006 release Close to Paradise is one of those rare gems of an album that can stand as a gateway to wherever you want it to take you.
On the one hand it's impossible to ignore Patrick Watson as a classic singer-songwriter; the charming young piano-player with the haunting voice. The big impact of an otherwise simple song like "The Great Escape" is a testament to the attention that Patrick's voice, delivery and sensibility command. Just try and avoid vocal comparisons to Jeff Buckley on "Luscious Life" (inflected with just a bit of Sufjan Stevens-like orchestration), or the penetrating stripped-down gospel of "Bright Shiny Lights." In some ways Close to Paradise was the coming-out party for one of Canada's most exciting young vocalists.
But on the other hand, Close to Paradise also features three other incredibly strong musicians just beginning to enter their prime, both in terms of skill and contributing song ideas. Robbie Kuster might be the best drummer in Montreal and between him and Mishka Stein on bass, the band has the ability to bolt from dreamy ballad to all out intricate rock assault and back again without blinking an eye. Simon Angell is among that rare breed of guitarist that can do more with one subtle and well-timed chord as others can with a whole song of throw-away notes.
Consider that Kuster co-wrote the ethereal electronics of "Daydreamer," that Stein laid the foundation to "Luscious Life" (arguably the album's most accessible moment of pop assault), and that Angell adds songwriting to his banjo credit on the apocalyptic dustbowl of "The Storm," and it's clear that we're dealing with a two-headed monster - at least. Close to Paradise is also a serious trip of a record by as tight a four piece band as you'll find.
Recorded in part by both Jace Lasek at Montreal's Breakglass Studios and Jean Massicotte at Master Cuts, the album also features guest appearances by two of Montreal's most exciting female vocalists: Land of Talk's Liz Powell, and country sweetheart sensation Katie Moore. Even electronic guru Amon Tobin adds a few touches.
Maybe most importantly, in age of records as mp3 cookie-cutter compilations, Close to Paradise is actually an album. Make no mistake, there are pop gems that are happy to stand on their own like "Giver" or "Drifters," but "Bright Shiny Lights" is that much more uplifting after you take the trip that is "Sleeping Beauty." Records used to do that kind of thing. They still can. You know, if you want them to.
This new deluxe gatefold 2LP edition of Close To Paradise comes complete with the bonus track “Interference From the Sky.”