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Esme Patterson

Rarely do you find as much emotional range on an album as you do on Esme Patterson's new release. From the pop-love warmth of "My Young Man" to the mournful "All the Days," All Princes, I travels an arc from juvenile romance to painful wisdom, with Patterson crooning the apt lyric "darkness on the heels of light" on the latter. And while those two songs pair Feist-y hooks with a jazzy melancholy, they're followed by the up-tempo "Jessica," which sounds delightfully reminiscent of CBGB-era Jerry Harrison. The album is a notable departure from the work of Patterson's flagship band, Paper Bird. (The only track that comes close is "Fall Asleep, Steal Away," with its oompah-band sound, but even that features the very un-PB chorus "The way that I love you is buried in blood.") Producer Roger Green's hand is evident throughout, most notably on the spatial "You &," with its delicate string arrangements and distant marching drums providing an anxious base for Patterson's painfully soulful delivery.

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