Paddy the Wanderer
Facts for Whatever
Tension and release act as key elements on Paddy the Wanderer’s latest release. “On the Ropes” launches the album at a leisurely tempo, not unlike Pink Floyd. But with each run-through, the lonely guitar grows stronger, while the whirling keyboards and taut rhythm section build in suspense. Tim Kelly’s drums drive these songs, but they add particular edginess to “Crowded Room,” pushing guitarist Joey Troupe’s high vocals to an impassioned level. Later, in “Feel Good Blues” the band’s fuzzed-out sound recalls Mudhoney, and Zach Dowdell overdrives his keyboard to fit right in. But before they settle into a Pacific Northwest vibe, they double back to a ’70s aesthetic in “By Design,” with a heavy riff, apocalyptic lyrics and some harmonized guitar leads to drive it home. The band knows how to build a song up to anthemic levels too. “Settle Down” gets its power from a driving chorus and a coda that features a strong, melodic guitar solo and manic keyboard fills. “The Vault” wraps things up with a rousing, sing-along finale by a chorus of voices. Paddy the Wanderer sounds heavy, but the band uses that intensity to make the songs count.