Patrick Ames Sparkles on New EP Liveness

By Deuce

You can’t quite place Patrick Ames’ style on his forthcoming EP, Liveness, which will grace the world’s presence on 04/04/2020. It’s part talking, part singing, (a major) part spoken word, and almost all delivered through an overstated, hippyish sounding overtone, sort of like a Jim Morrison sloughing his way through a Doors concert, full of whatever he was full of.

But there’s no mistaking his guitar. Predominantly acoustic, occasionally MIDI’d through as a guitar synth, it’s oftentimes deliberate, sparkling, an effervescent conversation starter and centerpiece of the six-track affair.

As you might imagine, that combination, plus the supernal singing, wailing, and chanting of his lovely background vocalists, Chana and Mikaela Matthews, make for some truly compelling numbers. The thing is, dude has some beats that slump along almost by themselves, such as on “Want to Believe”.

It’s a little ambiguous as to who’s manning the bass on this one and the rest of the collection (though it’s likely Ames with his MIDI guitar synth), but that bass pounds on the fattest track of the year so far, regardless of the genre. With a distinctive drum pattern and complementary guitar riff, Ames espouses the intentions of the affluent who “wanna believe in something other than technology.” The track pounds from start to finish, and the babes only make it better by chiming in the gaping holes between Ames’ lyrics.

Then you’ve got tunes like “Slow Dancing” which, doubtlessly, you’re going to need a copy of by the time you reach its conclusion. Rarely have simple “oohs” sounded so deliciously sumptuous, if not outright celestial, as they do on this ode in which the lyricist relives the innocence of a childhood evening watching his parents cutting a private rug. Must’ve been an intimate affair worth reliving a thousand times judging by the cogent progressions of the guitar chords.

A ballad like none other, supported by the usual cast of characters and somebody on some type of ethnic sounding percussion, it’s difficult to keep from singing the refrain as the song spins away into the future—or perhaps back to Ames’ past. It’s the closest he gets to orthodox singing, and well worth the wait on this assortment of songs.

But that’s the way this EP goes. Rarely does it tread in familiar ground, with Ames covering everything from the longstanding American preoccupation with firearms to its (relatively) more recent one with technology. Makes you wonder what thoughts will make his guitar strings jump next.

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