Album review: Patrick James, Outlier

patrick james

Ruth Hodge reviews the much-anticipated debut longplayer from Australian singer/songwriter Patrick James:

Imagine this:

You’ve pulled out of your driveway, fiddling with the GPS as your co-pilot slams shut the glovebox after stuffing a tonne of snacks inside of it. As your find your feet, and speed off, Patrick James’ debut album, Outlier, begins to play. And oh, what a sensation. There is a chugging train beat to the first track, ‘In New Light’, a positive, adventurous speed that throws you into the mood of exploration. Though there is something quite summery and upbeat about this album, it invokes images of a car (à la Land Rover ads) snaking along a winding road through Northern hemisphere woodlands.

There’s a central theme of travelling in Outlier, and it visits and rejigs old favourites such as ‘Bugs’, emanating a sense of Patty himself reminiscing his past adventures and we follow him on a journey from track to track of working out who he is, what he’s doing, and who is sitting in the passenger seat of this big adventure of his life at different stages. ‘Kings and Queens’, featuring on another collaboration project of Patty’s (Rargo) as well as his outlierearliest EP, reminds early fans of a youthful wonder that he possessed (and continues to). We’re equally excited for the new tracks, the almost military beats inspiring a mass throwing of our bodies in the ocean after listening to ‘So Grand’, the constant urge to keep moving that emanates through all of the tracks, Patty earnestly edging towards some yet-to-be-reached perfect state of being, though I think that being on the road is perfect in itself.

There’s always been something quite romantic and allegorical about Patty’s music and this album does not fail to deliver the next chapter and next turn on the road to his success. Beautiful harmonies, beautiful, yearning and almost heart aching lyrics, theres an up-down reflection on life’s up-down reality, and Outlier captures this so well. An easy-to-follow musical piece with our old favourites the piano and the guitar beautifully supported with moments of strong hints of a whole band sitting along side him, we only wish we were in the studio feeding Patty and his comrades sour worms and Doritos as they made their way through the journey that is this album. It’s been a long time coming, with detours, pitstops and toilet breaks and overnight stays in shocking hotels, but Patrick James has finally made it to destination: Debut Album. And we’re proud. Ten out of ten, would Shazam.

Outlier is released Oct 16 through Create Control. If you are in Australia, you can catch Patrick on tour with The Paper Kites at the following venues: 

October 15: The Gov, Adelaide SA
October 16: Amplifier, Perth WA
October 18: Port Macquarie Festival, Port Macquarie NSW
October 22: Theatre Royal, Castlemaine VIC
October 23: 170 Russell, Melbourne VIC
October 24: Workers Club, Geelong VIC
October 29: Sol Bar, Sunshine Coast QLD
October 30: Sound Lounge, Gold Coast QLD
October 31: Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane QLD
November 5: Lizottes, Newcastle NSW
November 6: The Metro, Sydney NSW
November 7: ANU Bar, Canberra ACT
November 8: Anita’s Theatre, Thirroul NSW

ruth hodge


Review by Ruth Hodge.