“We Fall Out of Touch” is an extraordinary song, spare, shadowy and full of ache. Though brightened in the corners by staccato guitars, though shifted to shuffling life by its brush and rims drum work, it is centered in enveloping loneliness. If there were ever a song to put on in the dark by yourself while considering the one who got away, this is it.
The song — and the EP which bears its name — is the work of one Patrick Park, a journeyman songwriter with a dozen or more years under his belt and at least two more full-lengths. Park has caught the ears of Beth Orton, Richard Buckner and his producer here, Doug Trumfio, but he remains obscure enough to be surprising. How could someone so good have slipped through the cracks?
Park sings in a desolately beautiful tenor, effortlessly fluttering up octave leaps, touching lightly on the notes yet drawing from them a spectral, evocative echo. He sounds, no kidding, like Roy Orbison. The six songs here are likewise effortless, sparse and emotionally charged. Most rely on a guitar or two for framing; a few shade them with percussion and background vocals. “We Fall Out of Touch” is the densest, with acoustic and electric guitar, bass, drums and a bit of organ. But even it has cavernous space and echo. Drop a penny into any of these songs, and the clink would reverberate as in a cave.
Park wraps pared down melodies and minimal arrangements in luminous auras, building castles in the air from droning electric guitars and drums in “In Our Sunday Clothes”, introducing a friction-y, Neil Young-ish distortion into the soft contours of “Break Free.” Every one of these songs is beautiful. Every one is done to a turn (and not over-done).
It’s exciting to find a songwriter of this caliber languishing in the bottom rungs, but also discouraging. You have to wonder exactly what is keeping Patrick Park back. (His web presence is, to put it mildly, sparse.) Right now, three months after the release of this excellent EP, the silence is deafening. Do yourself a favor. Drop whatever mainstream crap you’re holding right now (Beyoncé? Really?) and get yourself a copy of We Fall Out of Touch. It’s the real thing, I promise.
DOWNLOAD: “We Fall Out of Touch”