Paragon Cause has given me a lot to chew with their dreamy and ambient album Escape. They are a duo act based in Ottawa that had a very classic meeting of bumping into one another fatefully and deciding to make music together. Sometimes when you know, you know. This is one of those albums that frolics in experimentation especially when it comes to song structure. They are unafraid of being loose and unpredictable. While primarily what I would consider to be a trip-hop or shoegaze flavor, there are some fabulous notes of jazz and even grunge. There is a thick lining of smokey mystery that gives this album a signature sound.
The opener to this album is "Next Time" and I gotta say, I was not prepared. The intro had me nervous and I can't explain why. There was an interesting selection of sounds that made me think I might hate it but it quickly unfurled into a massively cool and complex masterpiece. Everything in my mind began to unwind as the guitar and drums hit. The drums were key to this song. They pushed a very cool jazzy vibe. Marnie Kheul reaches max cool factor with her vocals on this track. This song reached number seven on college radio charts over the summer and it's not hard to hear why. It is distinctive and cool and trendsetting. It calls back to the very beginning of the trip-hop movement but keeps a modern undertone.
"Fear" didn't ring my bell the way the previous song did. To be fair, it's a tough act to follow. Vocals are still lovely but I had some issues with the production. Some of those production issues seemed surface from time to time on the album.
One thing I do love about the album in its entirety is their penchant to lean into the darkness. They seem to explore every corner of a darkened room. They somehow discover new shades of black and color with the hues of oblivion and vast emptiness. Even better, they take these daunting concepts and make them comforting and relaxing. I get the sense they want to rewrite the fearsome reputations of the unknown and great voids. They call to embrace these things and even find comfort in them.
I would recommend those who are open minded to deep transformation give this album a go. It has unique qualities and I look forward to hearing more from them in the future.
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