Come To Canada You Will Like It
Across from his DJ duties, Patrick Holland brings an intriguing sonic spectrum when he hits the studio as Project Pablo. His new album is full of strong themes and a powerful sound that ties the entire record together. Much of the album lacks edges however, leaving the often more repetitive listens feeling like they could use a little more variety.
Thematic synths land loudly but with a soft energy on “Intro” to set a suave tone that is full of intention, and one that says Patrick Holland doesn’t want Project Pablo to be viewed as background music. Almost like an in-your-face score, the jazzy chords create an energy without feeling vastly over-stated. This energy shifts into more of a swing on “No Interest” as the drums and bass really hit a deep but bouncy groove to create something fresh. Thuogh the song’s energy is often fairly stagnant across the track, the sense of place and the feeling Holland creates in his central riff is soothing.
There’s a real driving shuffle to “Rent Day” that oozes the dynamic energy of the city, almost like a moving train next to his dulcet synths. Unlike other tracks, the drums really get playful here and Holland leans into this to give the song a really sharp dynamic range. “Just A Thought” touches on an 80s dance groove while playing against Holland’s own beats for something weird and entrancing in its syncopation. Unfortunately the midi saxes seem to highlight the album’s minimal use of organic instrumentation and leave the track feeling a little more hollow as a result rather than boosting it.
As “Tunstall” dives right into its main rhythms, it hits many of the album’s more meditative writing schemes. This said Holland does try and expand the instrumentation throughout the track while he keeps everything else the same. Interestingly however “Half Time” plays out with a suave lounge energy, where Holland crafts a distinct sense of place in his subtle groove to make a calm but smooth track.
The pounding bass of “Nanana” is shaking as the track kicks out and sets itself apart from the rest of the record virtually immediately. Though the beats and hooks take a little long to complement this energy, there’s something hypnotic to the writing. As Project Pablo leans towards Holland’s DJ talents even more on “To Sealeigh And Back” the song uses many of the album’s core sounds as a backdrop. While this actually makes for a more exciting track on its own, it ends up feeling less a part of the album because of it.
“It’s Okay That It’s Like This” takes a more subdued and pensive approach, while offering some truly unique sounds for the album. However the execution shows its hand fairly quickly, leaving the bulk of the track as one giant loop. On the other side, “Fine Match” closes out the album with a sharp bass hook and a constantly changing set of synth riffs. This constant shift makes for a lively listen and one that shows more of Project Pablo’s range than most of the record.
Words by Owen Maxwell