Patrick Ames: Liveness

Patrick Ames
(Patrick Ames)
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The hard snapping snare and muted guitar riff of “Bang Bang Bang,’ begins Californian singer/songwriter Patrick Ames new EP Liveness. This first tune flows into a raggy chorus with backing vocals sliding in under Ames talking-vocal, reminding me of Gil Scot Heron, at least on this first tune of the half dozen presented here.

“I Want You (Bossa Nova)” moves with a sly rhythm from Ames’ guitar pluck-strum, and what is a slightly more sung vocal than what preceded it. Once again, he introduces the female voices mid-way to give us some color.

“Just Before I Said I Do (The Wedding Song),” follows with a stuttered beat, Chana and Mikaila Matthews warbling behind the rhythm and Ames off-key singing, works in the way Lou Reed’s voice often does. I like this one a lot; it’s spooky, weird, and trips over itself in a genuinely infectious way. There is just enough lead guitar noodling in the background to create a heady brew.

“Slow Dancing” is another sly beat, with Ames mining his lower register, sounding like Leonard Cohen and Frank Zappa. There’s a goodly amount of circling-the-airport vocal harmonizing near the end, which is pretty effective actually.

“Want To Believe,” another high-clicking percussion and flunky guitar riff tune (probably the best acoustic rhythm playing on Liveness for me), allows Ames his most wry lyric here. The backing vocals chant a subtle blues feeling behind the groove, as Ames wraps this all up in what might be the best tune for me on a pretty brilliant little EP.

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