Montreal-based band Patrick Watson (named after, and inevitably confused with its lead singer/pianist, Patrick Watson) wants to give us peace. Watson’s latest album, Adventures in Your Own Backyard, Watson writes about repressed self-expression, those words and emotions that go unspoken. In particular, Watson notes the social pressures of life that suppress us. Watson sings in the opening track “Lighthouse”:
When to find you in the backyard?
Hiding behind our busy lives
dreaming of a lighthouse in the woods
to help us get back into the world
Echoes of this sentiment resound throughout the album, and Watson continues the theme in “The Quiet Crowd”:
Dear Mr. Quiet, who’s got so much to say
So much more than all of us sleeping away
If I could tie up a string to your mouth, make you scream
All of the things that you keep to yourself
I’d like to get to know you better, dear Mr. Quiet-man
There are tinges of Shearwater’s Animal Joy in some of Watson’s songs: an appeal to seek solace in nature against tide of silent conformity. More importantly, it appears that for Patrick Watson a break from the fast-paced, orderly side of life is necessary to interact with it as an individual. Resting in the comfort of your backyard is vital for your engagement with the world.
Watson elaborates in InterviewMagazine.com that “ a backyard [. . .] is more [being] with the people around you, your friends. I think that's what defines your home; not your actual, physical home.” Songs like “Words in the Fire” illustrate this well, as the speaker of the song encourages another to express themself, asking “what’s been on your mind/eatin’ you inside/takin’ all of your time.” Ultimately, what Patrick Watson wants us to have is peace: of mind, body and spirit.
Musically, the band reinforces this message as well. Watson mentions again that the band “use[s] the instruments that tell the best story for each song.” As a result, many of the songs on Adventures have a ethereal sound to them; horns, strings, and other instruments are brought together beautifully without excess or poor utilization to create a full, rounded sound. The ethereal nature of the sound reflects the inner consciousness of the lyrics, resounding with the theme of repressed self-expression. With the music wafting through the speakers, and the hushed, soft, falsetto voice of Watson floating overhead, it appears that Patrick Watson’s attempt to bring a sense of shalom succeeds.
- Jacqueline Ristola