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James Officer
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MUSIC REVIEW: PATRICK WATSON: WOODEN ARMS

September 15, 2009

 

Title: Wooden Arms
Artist: Patrick Watson
Released: May 2009, Secret City Records
 
When you listen to Patrick Watson’s music, images of homes and stores burning down are illustrated in your mind. It’s a theme that runs throughout the album—almost all of the songs on “Wooden Arms” mention fire.
 
While Watson has been recording music since 2001, “Wooden Arms” is his first major release. Most singer-songwriters are known for their lyrics, but that isn’t the case with Patrick Watson. Not that his voice or lyrics are bad, but it’s the instrumentation that really gets you hooked. For instance, the first track, “Firewood,” starts with a long, pleasant instrumental. Watson’s voice isn’t even heard until the song is almost over.
 
The third track, “Beijing,” is almost the opposite of “Firewood.” While in “Firewood,” half of the song is over before Watson sings a word, in “Beijing” he starts out with words and the melody starts later. But it’s the drum line that really makes this song exciting and suspenseful. When the drums first come in he is just playing on the floor tom and the floor tom rim. Later in the song, it seems like he is playing on just about anything he can get his hands on:pots, pans, even a plate. At one point, he shakes a box of spaghetti. Watson is obviously pretty creative in his instrument choices.
 
The fourth track, “Wooden Arms,” is equally interesting. It starts out the same as “Firewood” but features someone singing high, long notes. The guitar part is simple but seems complicated because it is complimented by drums, piano and moody vocals. This song and “Beijing” are the best tracks on the CD.
 
I started this review by saying that Watson’s music gives you pictures in your mind. This is appropriate, because he got his start by making music to accompany a book of photography. He has come a long way since. In 2007, he received New Artist of the Year award at the Juno awards, and in 2008 he created the whole sound track for the French-Canadian film “C'est pas moi, je le jure!” (“It's Not Me, I Swear!”).
 
I used to listen only to rap and hip-hop, but Watson’s music has allowed me to explore different styles of music. I really liked Paul Watson’s “Wooden Arms.” I would recommend this music, especially this album, to those who want to experience a new music genre. Five Stars!

 

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