Patrick Ames’ latest project is a four track release featuring an array of ideas and feelings – all of which are presented amidst a generally upbeat, somewhat indie-rock-inspired backdrop. The EP features the singer-songwriter on a MIDI guitar synthesizer, playing both the piano and soprano saxophone via his Gibson Hummingbird. The instrumental sounds throughout are, as a result, quite varied and always interesting. There’s a definite sense of personality embedded within the project, and this makes it all the more enjoyable to listen to.
Opening track Reawakened is a big moment to begin with. The energy is high, the soundscape is loaded to the brim with instrumentation and vocals and lyrics. The music actually has a certain feeling of revolution about it, which works well considering the political nature of the subject matter. There’s a very now sound to the music, almost as if it’s a live show – an organic and real performance encapsulating an array of feelings and thoughts that have emerged in light of recent global events.
As the project progresses, The Lonely Lie So Easily is a massive step in a completely different direction to the opener. The mood is mellow and dark now, the music calmer, the vocal performance too – there’s a laid back, perhaps melancholy energy to the track, and the words and the melody provide an emotional and memorable bit of storytelling.
The track is striking in a number of ways; the piano and the beat are all that really stands beside the vocals, so there’s a minimalist approach to the expression and this makes you focus in on and take note of the words and the emotion. The track has a great verse melody and writing style, and the switch to the hook is notable, impressive in fact, and far from predictable. Patrick Ames appears to operate under a creatively free light, so the music takes its listeners wherever he and the moment deem worthy, and this helps keep things fresh and absorbing.
Later on, the music evolves into something significantly different from the initial few minutes – the added instrumental free-style adds a little of that organic energy as featured in Reawakened, yet the rest of the music seems unaffected by structure or intention, and in a way it creates a huge space within which the audience can reflect upon this whole concept of the lonely lying so easily.
The Meaning Of Life is a wonderful moment within the project. It brings together the musicality of the opener, the now familiar sound of the leading artist, the storytelling, the pondering, and this time it throws in a melody and a choir-like support system that really lights up the darker corners of the song. The build up is loaded with genuine emotion, and the instrumentation and surrounding vocals have a wildness about them that is exciting and also very consistent now with what you soon come to know as the Four Faces sound.
With only four songs in total, the project is short enough to make its mark in an instant, and fortunately it does so by means of an immense collection of moments and vibes and ideas within the writing. The performances throughout are all perfectly appropriate and relevant to the project, and this is the thread holding it all together. The songwriter has a definite sense of certainty and character about his style and his sound, and this is something that quickly becomes familiar.
The music is easy and enjoyable to listen to, even quite refreshing in light of an ocean of much more processed sounding releases. The organic energy of this collection is addictive, and This Small Town is a beautiful way to bring the EP to a close – the vibe is lovely, reflective, comforting, and the music has, as always, this sense of live performance – of now, of being right here in the moment with you, and of being unappologetically real and honest. A unique and entertaining release, well worth a listen.