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Paatos - Breathing CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.72 | 106 ratings

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4 stars Hard to define, easy to embrace

"did you know how precious life would feel when time's your enemy" -from "Precious"

That line hit me hard at work today as I thought about my Dad, gone three months now and still hanging in my mind constantly. Precious indeed are those moments and the smile you won't see again but in photos. Sorry to start with that but it was my experience with this cool album. Paatos is a difficult-to-classify crossover prog band from Stockholm, whose origins date to the late 1990s. "Breathing" is their fourth full length studio album and their most accomplished to date. The band who describes their own sound as "cinematic rock" have a new line-up and sound clearly inspired and refreshed. This is one of those groups for whom a straw poll of twenty people may well yield twenty unique descriptions of just what they are: crossover prog, pop, alternative, post-rock, gothic, electronica, art rock, or various combinations thereof and some I didn't think of! I'm sure they've heard it all and probably laugh over some of them. I guess I'll go with "ethereal art-rock" on the "Breathing" album.

I feel "Breathing" is quite a leap over the "Kallocain" album I also have. The songs have less general drift, they are focused, smart, and not really a lagger in the bunch. The rhythm section is amazing, with new bassist Ulf Ivarsson more than able to handle the very busy style of drummer of Ricard Nettermalm, whom I can best describe as playing like the guy in Oceansize. Atop these guys who sometimes elevate the rhythm to lead you have guitarist Peter Nylander who plays with such command of atmosphere, and reminds me of the late great Robert Buck in his ability to alternate jangly, whispy, sparse chords/notes with more than sufficient power when necessary. Finally the vocals of Petronella Nettermalm have never been lovelier, often drenched in harmonies that are so full and luscious. (For those who've not heard her voice, she can sound like Julianne Regan, Siouxsie, Bjork, or Hope Sandoval at various moments.) Some tracks sport nice embellishments like strings or brass. Some feature that chilly Scandinavian keyboard with slightly dark guitar vibe while the vocal mood runs more hopeful for contrast. The combined result is this sonic hug that lifts you with interesting melodies, mostly upbeat and energetic, accessible songs, and some lyrics that were quite moving.

"Breathing" is stunning work for which Paatos should be very proud. Occasionally sporting haunting and laid-back "icy" feel, but also powerfully engaging, the album's carefully constructed songs harvest some of the best traits of progressive rock and creative art-pop music in one tight package.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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