Rolling solo when it comes to creative projects, especially music, comes with perks. For starters, you’ve got virtually unlimited creative space to wander around in. And with nobody to answer to but yourself, the exploration of that space becomes entirely unhindered and worth the wander. That musical wanderlust makes all too much sense to Ex-Pat, or Patrick Weil, whose experimental dreampop is a headtrip, a vacation, and a bit of sonic time travel all rolled into one package. His newest album Does Life hones in on a certain soulful airiness and polishes it as much as the lofi designation will allow. Does Life is our album of the week.
Ex-Pat’s signature is as hazy as it is deliberate, much akin to the experimental stylings of Ariel Pink and the lofi tremble of newer artists like Elvis Depressedly. Does Life is decidedly less noisy than previous endeavors, focusing now on a sound that pits synthy chillwave elements with Weil’s falsetto-laden crooning. The result is pleasantly intoxicating and a perfect fit for those who favor daydream whimsy over a more straightforward indie rock.
Does Life wastes no time on playful banter or intros, diving right into the dark mists of opening track “In a perfect world.” Weil disarmingly sprawls his falsetto over synths that pulse like blood rushing to a fresh wound, serving as an initial sedation of sorts for the remainder of the album. The album hits a certain stride around “Blue Neptune,” my favorite of the bunch, a downtempo acoustic number soaked in 60’s pop influence. Other notable highlights include the croony lounginess of “Replicate,” sexier-than-sex track “Weight of a Thousand Suns,’ and the sonic velvet of “Special Day.”
Each track finds a special place on the album after a few critical listens; fans of artists like Porches, Ariel Pink, and (Sandy) Alex G will find the exploration of these eight songs ultimately very worth it. Digital downloads of Does Life can be had on Ex-Pat’s bandcamp, and if you catch the elusive artist at a live show (likely around Purchase, Buffalo, or maybe NYC), you may find yourself lucky enough to scoop a physical copy.