Patrick Watson: Close to Paradise (Secret City/Elite)

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Patrick Watson: The Storm
Patrick Watson: Close to Paradise (Secret City/Elite)

This one has risen without a trace which is disappointing -- and also somewhat of a surprise given it picked up Canada's Polaris Music Award late last year (beating Arcade Fire's Neon Bible and the Feist album The Reminder -- both Elsewhere-listed) and Patrick Watson (the name of the singer-songwriter but also this Montreal-based band) were nominated in the Juno awards for best new artist.

Given that they also appear on that lovely Ma Fleur album by Cinematic Orchestra (which was also an Elsewhere favourite last year) and have toured with the likes of John Cale and had a track in a recent episode of Grey's Anatomy you'd think reviewers here would have been crawling over themselves to get a copy of this one.

But apparently not, it seems. Patrick Watson should appeal to the more chipper end of the Arcade Fire demographic as they make great heartfelt and dramatic pop, but also manage to get intimate.

Singer Watson not only invites comparisons with Jeff Buckley but it would be fair to say that sometimes you couldn't tell them apart. He has a powerful and emotional upper register and writes songs which don't grip immediately but just keep coming back to you.

This strong, diverse and quite astonishing album will obviously have detractors who can't hear past the Buckley or Rufus Wainwright connections -- but that shouldn't put you off checking out this one.

After all can the critics/writers/radio people on the jury of the Polaris award be that far wrong?

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