Album Review: Active Child – You Are All I See
Active Child’s debut album, You Are All I See was released on Tuesday by Vagrant Records. Active Child, aka Pat Grossi is known for his harp-based and synth-heavy tracks, as well as his distinct falsetto. Grossi’s 2010 Curtis Lane EP debuted to impressive reviews and a 7.7 rating on Pitchfork. On You Are All I See, Grossi brings the familiar sounds of his harp, synths, and heavy drums beats, but brings a more mature sound as well. Where Curtis Lane had been driven mostly by his haunting vocals and dancey beats, this new release is toned down and more rooted. Grossi doesn’t try produce dance tracks that sounds more like their caught between a ballad and a 80s hit, he sticks to what he’s great at: his instrumentation and composition. The tracks on You Are All I See hover around the topic of love, the loss of it, and confession. I don’t think it would be cliche to call Grossi a hopeless romantic because he admits it himself; when speaking about track, “See Thru Eyes” he says “I will never forget that morning, waking up next to her. The sun pouring in the giant windows of my studio apartment…She was my obsession.”
The two singles so far, “Hanging On” and “You Are All I See” are some of the best, if not the best songs on the album. “Hanging On,” one of the speediest songs of them all (along with “Playing House” featuring How To Dress Well) is a perfect example how emotionally charged and raw the whole LP is, as he sings (“Touch me and then turn away/ Put your hands into the flame/ Tell me if you feel this pain/ ‘Cause I don’t want to be a ball and chain”). The song peaks with strong harp and bass lines, and vocal melodies, and tones down at points reduced to just Grossi’s falsetto and harp. “You Are All I See” remind me of “She Was a Vision” on Curtis Lane and is Grossi’s attempt at convincing the girl he loved that she was all he needed. It does a pretty convincing job with slow vocals, synthed-out percussion and alternating slow and fast harp lines. Another great track is “Johnny Belinda”, supposedly conceived while watching the TCM on mute, features an amazing, albeit profoundly sad bridge around 2:50; Grossi’s favorite part of the entire album. It makes sense that this song is born out of watching movies because it is so epic sounding it seems to belong on a soundtrack to a black and white war movie.
Active Child’s debut is all about this girl that he so desperately wants to be with, but to the audience it could be their own story. It is incredibly personal and I don’t think it would have been as successful if it wasn’t. It enthralls you, and I really wonder if he got the girl in the end! I have only listened to the album a handful of times since the clock stroked midnight this morning and I downloaded it, but I can tell you it is a beautifully and artfully crafted album. It doesn’t contain the happiest of tunes and moods, but it’ll definitely suit you if its a rainy day or if your struggling in a relationship. You can pick up the album from iTunes for just $7.99 or stream the whole thing here. Enjoy.