- Pattern Addict, Pattern Addict
(Self-released, digital download)
Music scenes in college towns like Burlington benefit from a constant influx of new blood. Whether young musicians arrive and meet like-minded souls and form bands, or local kids listen to all those bands until they form one themselves, the end result is that the Queen City is usually awash in new ideas and sounds.
Witness Pattern Addict, who indeed introduce something new and different on their self-titled debut. These local kids make good with a truly eclectic mix of focused songwriting and tasteful, colorful arrangements that combine to create a nuanced take on indie rock.
The album kicks off with an intriguing instrumental number, "The Basement," which builds mood and momentum through a Radiohead-like piano arrangement over a martial beat. As Creede Burton's uplifting synths sweep across the song, they inspire a sort of "welcome to the record" moment before the players get down to business.
When they do, Pattern Addict become a singer-songwriter vehicle, rallying around vocalist/guitarist Liam Manion's folk-rock stylings. Particularly on songs such as "Foreign Artifacts" and "Little Monster," one can detect the band's Americana influences. Manion presents the bare bones with his acoustic guitar and raspy, intelligent melodies before the rest of the band starts to color both inside and outside the lines. Liam Quinlan provides atmospheric touches on lead guitar. The rhythm section of Dan Wagner on drums and Eden Forbes on bass ably adapts to the shifts between folk and indie rock.
It is on the latter style where the band finds real sonic footing. Pattern Addict achieve a certain dynamic when they let themselves get spacey and embrace their inner Pavement. "Darkness" is a fascinating song, finding the band in a staggering, contemplative mood. The guitars and keys chime back and forth over a sparse arrangement as Manion swears, "I don't give anyone anything anymore."
As good as the rest of the album is, tunes such as the single "Things Get Better" and the Mumford & Sons-influenced "Sunshine" don't quite stand out from the pack as much as the band's weirder material. Those cuts do, however, display a restraint and cleverness in arrangement that's advanced for a young band, especially on a debut release.
It's best not to get too excited about the potential of a new band, even amid so many promising signs. As a cautionary tale, consider recent local favorites such as the Snaz and Gestalt. Both created lots of excitement, not just for what they were doing but for the thought of what they could become, only to depart before realizing their potential. It's the other side of the local music phenomenon — so many new sounds, so much promise, but so rarely is it allowed to really cultivate here.
Still, one could be forgiven for getting a little excited after listening to Pattern Addict. Whether the band follows its folk-rock leanings or delves deeper into other sounds, a group with the tools these kids possess has every chance at a bright future.
Pattern Addict is available at patternadict.bandzoogle.com, as well as on Spotify and iTunes.