From the CD cover art I concluded that this compilation was going to take me for a ride. A conflicted carnival canvas depicts color and chaos, yet no people are partaking in the pleasure – the amusement park has been abandoned. The discography is displayed on a ticket that admits one to the ghostly gala, but you’re not so sure if you want to see what’s inside. However, the disc delivers with a phantom festival of songs.
From the very first track, the eerie tone is established. It sounds hauntingly hallucinatory. The voice seems far away, floating in the shadows of the song. The audio is almost like an apparition, as the lyrics leak: “I feel like a monster inside, I’ve got the claws, I’ve got the teeth, I’ve got the side that frightens me.”
The second song is a Coldplay cover of “The Scientist.” It fits into the music festival effectively, begging “But tell me you love me, come back and haunt me.” Coming after the cover is the song “To Hell With Evolution,” in which the wraithy words rally, “To hell with evolution, forget about the past/ I’ve got a new solution, let’s take some photographs/ Something to distract us, something we can have/ Define imagination, something that can last.” The contents are commonly complex.
The fourth stop on this merry-go-round of music is perhaps my favorite component of the carousel. It manages to manifest itself at a perfect point in the musical parade. The wicked words darkly disclose, “Your love fits me like a cage, I feel so safe here but I still want to fly away…I don’t want to be your souvenir.” The carnival continues on the fifth and sixth songs.
This CD could be the soundtrack to your scrapbook. It’s a reminder of all the rides you’ve ridden, the ghosts of the past that still hover and haunt you. The music is festive, but with a hint of fear. “Sew your mouth shut, far away from your big house where you grew up/ Close to the city/When I showed up I pinned back your eyelids so you believe/ Everything you see/ Is happening.”
It’s an admonition of all the things you think about when you can’t sleep. Patrick’s voice threads its way nicely through and materializes within the music. It’s that space between slumber and awake, being placed in a peculiar purgatory. It’s like you’re dreaming – with your eyes open.
“The chip on my shoulder is forming a crack, my body is leaking and I’m feeling detached,” the sixth song specifies. The seventh song switches up the style with the first guest guitar appearance. “I’ll be Switzerland, you be Germany/ Always pushing me around/I’ll be Switzerland, you be Italy/Always drowning me out.” The album is easy to listen to, and the eighth element is a cover of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.”
Just as the fifth song was supplemented by sojourner Christina Helfer, so are songs nine and ten, which Kathryn Moss Sorber collaborates on. “I think about it now and then, what happened to my friends/ Maybe it’s time we make time for us, maybe it’s time we make time for love/ I don’t even live here, I moved some time ago/ Just wondering if you know, oh I should’ve left a note.” It makes a possessing point of how the past affects the present. Song ten is a lucid lullaby of the things one may not see, but needs to say: “I am bone dry, bird that can’t fly…chasing things that disappear.”
For the most part, though, this festival is a one man masquerade, as Patrick Wright works the wonderland by himself. “My silent tongue will never let me speak, the things that I should have said will keep me up for weeks.” The music is both a merriment and a misery of memories. “So I’ll try my best to keep these things on my chest, some things are better left.”
This lost chapter has some layers. You never know what you’re going to find in this dichotomous day at Patrick’s amusement park. The last song laments there’s “something to be said about bright lights in a city.” Well, there’s something to be said about Patrick Wright and his self-produced ominous offering.