Patrick Watson is a Montreal-based 4-piece band fronted by the singer/pianist of the same name. He insists they are a “band” and not a solo artist + backing accompaniment, which would I guess be called Patrick and the Watson’s or something. Regardless, these guys are a shining beacon of artistic excellence in the Canadian indie scene – an archetype of when raw talent, ingenuity, and dedicated practice collide. With instrumentation collages not unlike that of Beirut, Andrew Bird and Owen Pallett, Patrick Watson are masters of both composition and execution. Featuring refreshing piano and string/wind arrangement intricacies, unconventional song structures, striking melodies and pop hooks, steadfast guitar/bass/drum foundations, and Watson’s immediately-recognizable, silky-smooth falsetto voice, I’d be hard pressed to find many rivals. Not that music necessarily needs to be a popularity contest.
Over the last decade, Patrick Watson have kept a steady pace at 1 album per 3 years. All their releases are delicious, but my two favourites are the 2007 Polaris Music Prize winning “Closer to Paradise” and this year’s “Adventures in Your Own Backyard”. Watson (the individual) was also co-wrote a number of stand outs from The Cinematic Orchestra’s “Ma Fleur” album, as well as provided an excellent remake of Champion’s “Guy Doune” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3wxP-Fmlfg). If you get the opportunity, I highly recommend seeing them live – they really are a sight to behold… especially Watson, who is eccentric, sporadic, and altogether fascinating to watch. Update: Watson took on past-collaborator Joe Grass as full-time guitarist and delivered another gorgeous, 50-minute journey through his haunted funhouse of a mind (try title track opener “Love Songs for Robots“).
Favourite track: Slip Into Your Skin (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sI8l8qWiEk)… I feel it too.