Paul Denis Releases “A Passing Storm” LP
Paul Denis takes the listener through an epic, emotional journey in the new concept album, A Passing Storm. 13-tracks deep, this mix of synth beds, prog rock guitars and grand soundscapes that run the gambit between instrumental and those that do include vocals. Denis, who is based in Canada, has marvelous instincts into the human spirit. These songs search for meaning through the many storms that pass through our lives. From time away, love and loss and more, A Passing Storm is one of 2022’s most satisfying listening experiences. It’s also one of the year’s most beautiful and invigorating.
The first song, “Message” also happens to be the one of the longest. Clocking in at just over six minutes, “Message” starts out like the sounds of flipping through the radio dial. The various radio stations range from pop to classical – before the audio is stuck on what is presumed to be a voicemail from a daughter to her dad. Suddenly the stirring melody, a music bed opens up. It’s like the sound of a new day. It’s a bold, bright sound that feels like the sun reaching out in open arms. It ends with the same little girl’s message.
From there it’s “In The Afterlife (Part I)” and “30 Beacons of Hope”. Of the two, “30 Beacons of Hope” grabbed me as much more modern, a powerful EDM beat. Then, “Crazy Night” reminded me of the emotive “Silent Lucidity” from Queensryche. He sings, you don’t have to be alone, above a gorgeous acoustic guitar arrangement. “Hide Yourself” and “Ginette” round out the first six tracks.
Of the next three songs, “Stars”, “Running Out Of Time” and “I Am With Friends”, it’s hard to pick a standout. They are all magnetic, compelling tracks. It’s at this point in the album that Denis makes it so easy for the listener to be completely engaged. “Stars” has a murky tone, with an electric riff that hits the gut. A pesky percussion moves along, with Denis sounding more like David Bowie or Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody. Denis sings, naked before the wind, as you shelter and take me in, I am ravaged in comfort. That line really stood out to me, but it’s additional evidence that as a songwriter, Denis takes chances and is completely authentic.
The last four songs, “I am with Friends”, “Pelican V”, “A Passing Storm”, “So Much I Miss You” and “In The Afterlife (Part II)” once again offer meticulously sonic blends that ignite the mind and soul. The title track, a thunderous, piano-frenzy is a whopper of a song. The piano bed sends the baton to the fiery electric guitar and triumphant drum kit. The guitar continues to swelter, motioning in tight groves and bass lines.
“So Much I Miss You”, clocks in as the album’s longest track at seven minutes and forty-four seconds. It’s worth the time, and while it might be a downer to some, the lyrics are poignant. Denis sings, and I felt you reach beyond the grave, and the message rang out, like a mighty cannon roar, it told me to hang onto all the pain that I ignore, all the thoughts I abhor. It hits you deeply. Denis is not to be missed in this life-changing listening experience.