Esmé Patterson, We Were Wild, Grand Jury/Xtra Mile Recordings/Greater Than Collective
Colorado-native, Portland-based Esmé Patterson – formerly of chamber folk pop group Paper Bird – has released her third LP, We Were Wild. Following up her 2014 sophomore album, Woman To Woman, We Were Wild explores themes of seeking spiritual satisfaction. The build-up to her latest offering focused on an extended pre-production period in order to nail the more reverby, choppier guitar paired with a Country Western sound down featured on the new record.
Opening track ‘Feel Right’ is an upbeat, rockabilly-tinged number complete with juicy hooks. Patterson exclaims, “ no one wants to feel something that don’t feel right,” with jubilation. The life-affirming, ‘No River’ explores finding your roots and settling down. ‘Francine’ is a 50s inspired bar room rock stomper that brings to mind the retro energy of Eleni Mandell paired with Regina Spektor-style vocals.
‘The Waves’ is a more brooding, melancholy rumination that explores the feeling of being set adrift at sea without any control of the sinking ship that you’re sailing on. “When the waves get a hold of your heart they don’t let go”, Patterson declares.
While upbeat and convincing, songs such as ‘Moth Song’ and ‘Wantin’ Ain’t Gettin’ stay safe and sedate. Title track ‘We Were Wild’ uses the past tense appropriately as the feel of the song is decidedly middle of the road. While fun and frisky, the meat of the album stays firmly trapped in unchallenging territory that doesn’t reach up to grab for the hard truths and bitter realizations that are being examined. This tendency to play it safe weighs the album down, never taking it to the next level.
When she nails it, she really hits the ground running. The smashing ‘Come See Me’ is a splash of vibrant color, exhuberantly featuring her strong sense of melody and harmony in equal measure. The doo-wop inspired ‘Find It’ is feel good, melodic pop that wraps the listener up in an ode to seeking one’s desires.
While not boundary-smashing, Esmé Patterson’s latest album is a joyous, upbeat listen that revels in the happy-go-lucky search for self-satisfaction.
Check out Esmé Patterson live:
Tue 15 Dublin The Ruby Sessions, Doyles Bar – headline show
Wed 16 Dublin Olympia Theatre
Fri 18 Salisbury City Hall
Mon 21 Liverpool O2 Academy Liverpool
Tue 22 Carlisle Sands Centre
Wed 23 Doncaster Dome
Fri 25 Coventry The Empire
Sat 26 Cardiff The Great Hall
Sun 27 Oxford New Theatre
Mon 28 Exeter The Great Hall
Wed 30 Reading Hexagon
Thu 1 Leeds University Refectory
Fri 2 Aberdeen The Garage
Sat 3 Edinburgh Usher Hall
Mon 5 Scunthorpe Baths Hall
Tue 6 Warrington Parr Hall
Wed 7 Newcastle Northumbria Uni
Fri 9 Nottingham Rock City
Sat 10 De La Warr Pavilion
Sun 11 Norwich UEA
Mon 12 Guildford G Live
Tues 13 London Servant Jazz Quarters – Headline show
Wed 14 Portsmouth Guildhall