Review | Esmé Patterson

Esme Patterson
Rating:

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.

Megan Beard

Check out Esmé Patterson live:

November

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

December

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

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