The Austin Chronicle

SXSW Reviews

Reviewed by Melanie Haupt, March 16, 2007, Music

Patrick Watson

Close to Paradise (Secret City)

The second proper LP from the Montreal quartet bearing the name of its pianist lead singer is rife with beautifully slippery music. To describe it in industry shorthand: a jam session between Portishead and Devendra Banhart. Part of Paradise's slipperiness is the interplay between the organic and the electronic. "Daydreamer," while clearly adorned in Pro Tools finery, boasts the kind of raw vocalization one might expect from Jeff Buckley. Some might describe Watson's aim as "art rock" but not in the sense that the band experiments with strange noises and all-around quirkiness. Rather, each tune takes on a visual dimension. "The Storm" unfurls like a perfectly constructed painting: The movement has the nuances of a Monet with a splash of spaghetti western thrown in for contrariness. These are museum-worthy pieces. It's a shame they can't be framed. (Thursday, March 15, Maggie Mae's, 12:30am)


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