woensdag 7 januari 2015
Moon king. Patrick Joseph
Of course an album is not about the artwork, but all about the music. Still, the artwork certainly adds to the grandeur of an album. Just imagine holding this artwork as an LP in your hands. That does make a difference.
Patrick Joseph is not new to this blog and WoNo Magazine. His EP, 'Foot in the door' was reviewed in 2013 (http://wonomagazine.blogspot.nl/2013/03/foot-in-door-ep-patrick-joseph.html). I ran into him in the days before the blog, when he gave away a digital album ('Antiques') for free on one site or another. In those days I wasn't aware that giving away music for free also is a business model. See Noisetrade.com e.g.
Moon king is as beautiful as it is fleeting. The music matches the album art. From the cooler yellow to the warmer orange and red, with a hint of shadows and darkness in between. All starts with Patrick Joseph's voice, soft with a rough edge, a bit hoarse from the wear and tear of every day's use. Giving it just that edge that makes it special and extremely pleasant to listen to. As soon as his voice goes up in range, it gets a vulnerable quality as well, that ought to appeal to his female audience no doubt.
The music is in the range of singer-songwriters that are in search of the holy grail in the form of the perfect pop song that tell about love (lost and won) and the voicing of memories (pleasant and painful), feelings (joy and hurt) and the future (expectations and disillusions). As such Patrick Joseph reminds me of his fellow L.A. colleague Shane Alexander. His fans can check out this album without any hesitation.
Those who have heard his EP 'Foot in the door' will hear familiar songs on Moon king. On the one hand this is a bit disappointing as I would have wanted to hear more new songs. On the other hand the selection on offer is of the right quality. 'Setting sun' easily catches my ears again. 'Foot in the door' remains that beautiful song. They received a formal release on an album in 2014. The songs Patrick Joseph added make sure that Moon king is at a very high and interesting level throughout where the music is concerned.
'Pale skin' is a mix of softness and a harder rocking guitar. Yes, Patrick Joseph does a Coldplay/Jonny Buckland here, but in a more interesting form then I have heard since 2005 from that band, without losing himself in the song. He lends the guitar sound, which as that of course also has some The Edge influences, and blends that into his own song to a great effect. The light and the shade are in a perfect balance in 'Pale skin'.
'The sidelines' starts off as this desert of desolation. A few piano notes and echoes on the wind, distorted voices, spirits with ancient messages I can't quite hear? All is drawn together when the drums kick in, the cross over in this song is something I quite like. Again a well placed effect. The song plays itself out until it explodes and I can't help thinking Coldplay again. But again it is done so well and so sparingly. The moment is almost gone before I fully recognise it as such, as 'The sidelines' collapses into itself again and I have to almost strain to hear what is going on before it really ends. Again so well produced.
Where I wrote that 'The last laugh' couldn't agree with me in 2013, in 2015 the song reminds me of Jeff Buckley so much. Without the extremes in singing and playing Buckley always seemed to seek. Next smooth singing and playing Jon Allen comes to mind. Moon king is much better balanced though. The light and the shade again that makes this album so worthwhile listening to. Patrick Joseph sings 'The last cough' so beautifully. His voice is smeared out as it were over the rhythm, almost as if they do not belong together, but make a perfect fit. Strange as this may sound, this is the image his singing has on me here: like peanut bitter sticking to a piece of bread.
What I also like on Moon king is the variety in sound. Although the guitar is up front most, a piano leads the way forward in some songs. The mix of faint electronic soundscapes with acoustic instruments and electric guitars that come up with some great accents, is magical at times. All this starts right at the beginning of Moon king. 'Bound to break' holds it all. Without any form of antics, a song is being build up slowly, with the few seconds orchestra part countermanding everything for a very short 'A day in the life' like interlude.
'Bound to break' can be seen as a blueprint for the rest of album. Songs can be more up tempo or even slower or totally instrumental and jazzy, as in 'Such a long time ago', Patrick Joseph seems to find the right setting for them all. Subtlety is the right word to introduce here. Where a single note can make all the difference in the direction of a song. Just well done.
Overseeing/hearing it all once more, I'm going to call for all Coldplay fans who lost their way with or after 'X&Y' to check out this album. Not because you will find Coldplay of old, but because you find Patrick Joseph. An artist that deserves more attention on the strength of his songs and quality of his voice. (And yes, some Coldplay elements as well.) Let me end with pointing to 'Setting sun' again. Beauty in sound seldom sounded so well.
You can listen to 'Setting sun' here:
You can buy Moon king on Patrick Jospeh's website: