It’s no secret that musicians have historically responded to hardship and conflict with periods of significant creative output.
Many of world’s greatest musical traditions were born out of this kinds of adversity; be it the raw expression of the blues, the unbridled rebellion of punk rock, or socially-conscious discourse of hip hop, important strides in music have been made by artists who have plumbed to the lowest depths of personal turmoil. Canadian singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Patrick Krief understands this as well as anyone, and his album Automanic Red + Blue repackaged for UK release is a living testament to this tragic reality.
Krief has enjoyed success in the industry for much of the last fifteen years as lead guitarist for long-running Canadian orchestral rock band The Dears, but of course, no amount of success makes one immune to the relentless march of time and the misfortune that so often follows in its wake. Krief wrote Automanic Red + Blue following a period of immense personal sorrow spurred by a string of untimely deaths and the end of a significant romance. This dark time pushed him into a period of depression and self-destruction that Krief says he’s happy to have escaped from, and even discovered a new-found sense of strength in the struggle to overcome it. Automanic Red + Blue is proof that dark clouds truly do have a silver lining, as Krief was able to come out the other side to achieve a personal high point in terms of creativity and ambition.
Automanic Red + Blue, Krief’s fourth solo outing, is an exploration of the duality of conflicting emotions—the beauty to be found through personal struggle, the violence that love all too often inspires, the strength that is gained through immense grief. This duality is manifest not just in the paired albums names—Red and Blue—but also in the overarching themes and vibes that characterize each half. Autonomic Red begins the dyad with a bang, focusing on raw feelings of anguish and inflated ego. The songs are brash and loud, relating the loss of control to powerful emotions in the wake of great personal pain. In contrast, Autonomic Blue is the fallout that comes as a result of such a great outpouring of emotion—it is an album of contemplation and self-reflection. Red is unrestrained catharsis, Blue is the hard-earned personal growth that follows.
Automanic is a unique release in that it is not a traditional double album. More than simply an extra-long collection of songs, Automanic Red and Blue stand alone, yet simultaneously come together to create something greater than the sum of its parts. Krief shared some interesting musings on the dual nature of Automanic, saying the two albums are “autonomous in their flow and not meant to be listened to in one sitting,” and yet, “releasing one without the other simply wouldn’t make any sense—the plot truly exists within the invisible lines that bond them.”
Check out Patrick Krief’s new single “Ordinary Lies” below. This slow burner opens with a plaintive piano line as Krief’s airy vocals narrate his personal pains. Subtle synth and production notes fill out the sound, adding a further layer of depth to the presentation. All this develops to a crescendo of strings and snare hits that releases the emotions built up by the intro. “Ordinary Lies” is available now through Fierce Panda Records, and Automanic Red + Blue will be released on November 17th.
UK Tour Dates:
– 18th November – The Swan, Ipswich
– 23rd November- Paper Dress Vintage, London
– 25th November– Factory, Manchester