Patrick Watson is coming to San Diego on June 7, touring in support his latest album, Adventures in Your Own Backyard. The record is an exploration of home -- a place that feels more exotic than familiar after years of touring. Recorded in his loft in Montreal, it was meant to replicate the band's live sound and capture the lightness and simplicity of playing rather than overcomplicated compositions. Often, an artist's muse is the road -- the relentless travel and exhaustive haze of touring circuits -- but Patrick Watson has found himself pining for home and all the small subtleties that evoke inspiration.
The result is a stunning collection of 12 tracks that pour out like sugar from a jar. The band's orchestral sound draws similarities to regular tour mate Andrew Bird with vocal octaves of cooing and hums that brave Bon Iver-esque heights. I recognize that such examples aren't original, but it all leads to my bewilderment that Patrick Watson and Co., while cut from the same cloth as their famous indie-rock peers, are still considered "indie." Despite snagging a Polaris prize for their 2007 album Close to Paradise, they still haven't quite made it onto our collective radar, but I've got a strong feeling that this will soon change.
And much like the theme of Adventures in Your Own Backyard is internal exploration, there are layers to be discovered upon returning to this record (which I have repeatedly). Small nuanced, fluttering keys, the buzz of a choir. Everything feels so delicate. Songs like "Words in the Fire" and "Into Giants" stick out, conjuring visual narratives, long stretches of open land, half-illustrated and bursting with color. The record feels vibrantly alive and crushingly intimate.
Melt into the summer months ahead with this record drifting out of your car speakers. I assure you, it calls for lazy summer days ahead. Be sure to catch Patrick Watson at the Loft at USCD on June 7.