Pleaser, the latest chapter in Dad Patrol’s constant evolution, is a deceptively complex, completely enjoyable listen.
Pleaser, the latest from Dad Patrol, is exactly as the title suggests – a pleasing collection of songs that chart the growth and development of one of Fredericton’s most exciting indie rock ensembles. Across the album’s ten songs, Dad Patrol give a solid nod to their varied back catalog – one that weaves between several genres dominated by emo, math-rock, and post-rock with occasional dips into pop territory – while at the same time introducing some of their most aggressive music to date. Pleaser is an album that begs the use of clichéd phrases like coming-of-age or full-circle. And while I’m not above using those phrases to sometimes get my point across, I believe there to be more to this album than a catch-all comment.
One of the things I’ve always respected about Dad Patrol, beyond the fact that some of these musicians have been making music together since they were barely into their adolescence, is the way they have never shied away from their past. It’s all there on Bandcamp. No hiding. An impressive string of singles, EPs, and albums that could easily be interpreted as the work of three or four completely different groups. Listening to Dad Patrol’s discography in chronological order is like listening to an ever evolving playlist channeling all the new found abilities and collective influences that have brought the band to this point. Pleaser is without a doubt Dad Patrol’s most thorough release, one that ties together all the loose ends and sonic alleyways they have mapped since the beginning. Pretty admirable stuff, really.
Hardly Know Her, the album’s opening song, strikes immediately, signalling yet another new direction for the band with raspy vocals sitting above a rambling melody that shifts time and welcomes new tones with every turn. It also sets a precedent for the remaining nine songs that stare straight ahead guiding the listener into the next chapter in Dad Patrol’s constant evolution.
Pleaser is a deceptively complex, completely enjoyable listen. While the influence of fellow Frederictonians Motherhood is easily recognisable across the entirety of this album, this inner scene osmosis is not the album’s defining trait. Not even close. Pleaser represents growth, both individually and collectively. All the nuance and menucha that Dad Patrol has been exploring from the get-go – the use of harmony, counterpoint, and rhythmic laying – gets a full flex on this album. From the subtle swing embedded within the introductory phrase of Thr33:Thirt33n to the full-on, hanging from the rafters, catch me if I fall, fearlessness of the album’s closing track, members of Gregor Dobson, Zach Pelletier, Jonathan Marino, and Simon Boudreau have held nothing back. I’m (pleasantly) exhausted just thinking about it.