by Kris Handel (@khandel84)
Essentials is the first full length record from New York trio Patio and it follows the dark, brittle and fairly brilliant yet somewhat hesitant EP Luxury that was released in 2016. Patio tread in the ever-deep waters of post-punk and Northeast DIY scene and quite frankly stand out at near the top of that pack of bands which is quite an achievement. Loren DiBlasi and Lindsey Paige-McCloy handle the majority of the vocals and bring differing tones and shifting styles to the band that meld together in fantastic fashion. Luxury introduced Patio as a band that knew their way around unique songwriting and presentation from a young and fresh band, whereas Essentials brings forward a more steadfastly determined and assured presence.
“Split” opens the album with DiBlasi deadpanning over a rumbling bassline before shards of stinging guitar announces itself and Patio lock into some intense musical dialogue that falls into place before ending with the strong and imposing couplets of “Split me from the inside/Don’t stop until we reach the end/rip me to fucking shreds/then make me whole again.” “Scum” shuffles along led adeptly by impressive drumming from Alice Suh underlying the tension that continues to build in McCloy’s vocals. The trio is quite proficient at varying the tempo and instrumentation as highlighted in “Scum” which works well with the somewhat abstract and intriguing puzzle of the lyrics. “No Time” adds a bit of shoegazing cloudiness into the mix to distinguish itself as McCloy somewhat coos and varies her cadences to separate itself from the mix.
“Vile Bodies” is an impressive bit of up-tempo post-punk with McCloy and DiBlasi doing a bit of call and response in the alternating vocals that use different harmonies and textures that are delightful despite the detachment and frustration imbued in the songwriting. Not only do the dual vocalists blend and interlock in commendable fashion, the bass and guitar play off each other magnificently here in all their knotty glory. “Open” is a bit of a meditation on anxieties of oneself and moving on and working past obstacles that might stand in the way of self-improvement and growth. DiBlasi expresses a bit of longing but also perseverance and a self-awareness that is a treat to listen to as McCloy works tight guitar lines in and around bouncing bass before exploding into tightly wound instrumental tension.
Essentials is a record that explores a lot of avenues of the self and interacting with the outside world and all that it has to offer both good and bad. There is an open-endedness here that allows for multiple interpretations and approaches from the listener that lends itself to a catharsis of sorts for both the band and audience. This is an honest and emotionally bare record that may not always be an easy thing to partake in, but it provides an opportunity to explore and engage in thoughts that are very necessary to grapple with. This record has a bit of a hard shell that might be imposing to crack, but the reward is well worth the effort and time required. Patio are a band that are emerging into a force that deserves attention and with Essentials have provided a compelling and twisting document that has a sheer force and strength that is awe-inspiring.