Grateful to the Six Eyes music blog for highlighting this album. It is truly excellent stuff. Patrick Watson is the leader of a band named after him that comes from the burgeoning music scene in Montreal, Canada home to the Arcade Fire, The Dears and the Stills. There is a good free session containing songs from Patrick Watson's previous album on the Black Sessions (C'est Lenoir show) a Canadian Radio Show which can be downloaded for free.
This album however is a step change in terms of his/the bands songwriting from the previous album "Close to Paradise". It's also true that Tom Waits influences are everywhere. The song "Travelling Salesman" could be off "Rain dogs" if the vocals were not quite so nice! Wooden Arms could have been written for Billie Holiday (with some Waits thrown in for good measure); with superb Jeff Buckley style vocals by Watson. Other songs are much more straightforward, "Big bird in a small cage" is a particular highlight and is the sort of song which will make your friends sit up and ask whose playing. Its arrangements and dual voices are lush and beautifully constructed. This and other songs like "Fireweed" and "Tracy's Waters" show an emerging artist to be reckoned with. There is no single prevailing style on this album and its diversity and eclecticism are its strength. Like Andrew Bird's superb "Noble Beast" the variety of styles and influences are all over the place. "Patrick Watson" is very much a band of musicians making great music.