One of the most prolific composers in the UK, Duncan Patterson, has released a new record, “Grace Road,” after a five-year hiatus.
Duncan Patterson is known for his collaborations with Anathema and Antimatter. In addition to his solo career, Duncan is preparing to release a new project with former Anathema vocalist Darren White called Antifear.
“Grace Road” is an experiment that leans mainly towards the lo-fi, gothic genre that introduces us to a new creative universe. The material is presented as a dramatic play in 5 acts. Through her delicate but oppressive interpretation, the Palestinian vocalist Enas Al-Said becomes an equally important character. With her, “Grace Road” plumbs melancholy and infinite sadness.
The artist took his time on the new record, as he states, “a five-year self-imposed exile from music. I was unsure if I would find the energy and inspiration ever again, but I did.” Through “Grace Road,” Duncan sets out on a new path that still echoes the wrong ways the artist has trodden in the past. The inner turmoil is exploited to the fullest so that the wounds can be healed more quickly, but you will notice that no track escapes the gravitational pull of melancholy.
Starting with ‘Absolute Absolutum,’ the song is a piano-driven sentimental ballad that employs religious imagery, going right to the heart and feeling personal and authentic. The song immediately establishes the haunting yet enchanting aura that permeates the record. After a long intro of angelic choir-like vocals that gradually builds, it shifts into a piano melody that is played so precisely and intensely that it induces shivers into your spine.
The EP continues with ‘The Quiet Light’ and ‘Walking Between Worlds.’ The drums on ‘Walking Between Worlds’ highlight a stark transition in comparison to the previous songs.
Duncan’s ability to craft such piercingly devastating vignettes of loss and sadness makes us wonder if he has baked all his experiences into this record. He reckons to have been significantly influenced by the most recurring themes in his recent times, namely lies and injustice.
‘The Amber Line’ is my personal favorite. It seems to be a perfect balance of all the things Duncan does so well: incredible lyrics, and understated instrumentation. All of these factors culminate in a powerful song that inspires repeated listens.
“Grace Road” sounds exactly like the title suggests; a drama that can easily make its way among great composers’ works of this kind. The record is a beautiful testament to musical skill and honesty, as Enas Al-Said truly understands how to turn her soft, vulnerable voice into a strength. To sum it up, the material leaves the listener nostalgic, torn up, and longing for home. If it were up to me, I’d say that these two brilliant artists should continue to collaborate into the future because their new album provides a sense of authenticity and melancholy that the music industry needs.
For orders, the new album “Grace Road” is now available on Bandcamp, HERE.
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