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Wooden Arms by Patrick Watson

Patrick Watson

Wooden Arms

Release Date: May 5, 2009

Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Pop

Record label: Secret City


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Album Review: Wooden Arms by Patrick Watson

Acceptable, Based on 3 Critics

Under The Radar - 70
Based on rating 7/10

Musical mastermind Patrick Watson—a recipient of Canada’s Polaris Prize in 2007—has returned in 2009 to offer up Wooden Arms. A dreamy collection of lush and inspired arrangements, Wooden Arms recalls Andrew Bird’s warm, delicate vocal range and intricate instrumentation. The title track’s haunting waltz opens up from a nostalgic piano into the ominous droning of pitched percussion, reminiscent of Tom Waits’s “Clap Hands”—all rimmed with melancholic plucked strings.

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The Guardian - 60
Based on rating 3/5

Close to Paradise, the 2007 album from the Canadian band named after their lead singer, saw off Arcade Fire and Feist to take the Polaris Music prize - Canada's equivalent of the Mercury. Their long-awaited follow-up covers similar terrain - pitching Watson's floating, almost moaning vocal against a quietly clattering backdrop of pianos, percussion and found sounds, including a bicycle being beaten. At times, it could be a long-lost Radiohead experimental project, or Antony Hegarty singing while doing the pots and pans.

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Pitchfork - 33
Based on rating 3.3/10

Back in 2007, the easy literary comparison for me to make with Patrick Watson's out-of-nowhere Polaris-pinching Close to Paradise was Peter Pan. Like the ship in a jar that decorates the album cover, Paradise was a fantastical world in miniature, intricately detailed and designed to evoke imaginative flights of fancy. It was also too ethereal: all flying and no destination.

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