04 April 2019 (released)
25 April 2019
Bay Area troubadour Patrick Ames brought back Latin inspiration from a stint in Buenos Aires and fused it into his latest offering All I Do is Bleed. Ames, who began writing songs in the late 60s and 70s took an extended hiatus from the craft to build a career in publishing, now returns with age and wisdom to share his free-range contemplations. The four-track EP reminisces over desires and regrets while infusing classical and flamenco elements into the traditional singer-songwriter fare.
The opener 'I Want You' enters with the archetypal dramatic Latin guitar strums juxtaposed with a somewhat ominous synth lurking in the background. Ames fumbles out a train of thoughts, forgoing simple poetic rhythms to embody the emotion of trying to express complicated feelings. The feminine backing holds down the more rhythmically precise timing while Ames is able to ruminate in free form. The sporadic, grubby vocal placement recalls the sputtering back and forth of some of The Pixies work.
Featured track 'While You Were Making Babies' hangs on a casual backbeat and smoothly slotted in piano chords. The track's vocals feature the strained wishful cadence of Leonard Cohen's first albums before his voice dropped into the baritone basement. In particular, the female duet of New Skin for the Old Ceremony classic, 'Is This What You Wanted?'. The calm resolve of the female voice is joined by and overtaken by the male's frustrated view from the sidelines.
Rounding out the short album is the beautifully ethereal classical piece 'Queen Kae' and the Spanish duet 'Te Amaba Locamente' (trans. I Loved Madly). The former lets a gentle classical guitar take centre stage under airy vocals and the latter has Ames and Mikaila Matthews trading off verses under a plodding beat in a longingly lustful melancholic melody.
All I Do is Bleed harkens back to a form of record creation of decades past which is much looser than anything being released today. At first, it catches you off guard when the lyrics and changes aren't coming where your mind expects them but given a few listens, the album's unbound nature is refreshing.