10 Songs, 53 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Paul Thomas Saunder’s debut full-length album is an enveloping collection of synth-pop that sounds huge—a particularly impressive accomplishment since it was recorded in a hotel gatehouse using what the songwriter/producer describes as the “bare essentials.” The album’s delirious wash of synths and airy textures evince Saunder’s discriminating influences (he cites Blade Runner composer Vangelis and multifaceted French producer/musician Jean-Claude Vannier as two of them), but the charm of Beautiful Desolation lies in its accessible, haunting melodies. “Good Women” is a ballad with a languid groove and echoing vocal melody. The driving “In High Heels Burn It Down” recalls the shoegazing pop of My Bloody Valentine. “A Lunar Veteran's Guide to Re-Entry” offers a gorgeous, nostalgic hook over a blend of acoustic and electronic instruments. This delicate balance—which simultaneously offers complex sonic textures and immediate pop melodies—makes Beautiful Desolation a remarkable achievement.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Paul Thomas Saunder’s debut full-length album is an enveloping collection of synth-pop that sounds huge—a particularly impressive accomplishment since it was recorded in a hotel gatehouse using what the songwriter/producer describes as the “bare essentials.” The album’s delirious wash of synths and airy textures evince Saunder’s discriminating influences (he cites Blade Runner composer Vangelis and multifaceted French producer/musician Jean-Claude Vannier as two of them), but the charm of Beautiful Desolation lies in its accessible, haunting melodies. “Good Women” is a ballad with a languid groove and echoing vocal melody. The driving “In High Heels Burn It Down” recalls the shoegazing pop of My Bloody Valentine. “A Lunar Veteran's Guide to Re-Entry” offers a gorgeous, nostalgic hook over a blend of acoustic and electronic instruments. This delicate balance—which simultaneously offers complex sonic textures and immediate pop melodies—makes Beautiful Desolation a remarkable achievement.

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About Paul Thomas Saunders

Producer, sonic architect, Singer and songwriter Paul Thomas Saunders possesses an emotive, high-register singing voice that reveals his origins as a trained choir singer. It is instantly recognizable. He originally hails from Leicester, but began writing and playing music in earnest while attending college in Leeds, his permanent base of operations.

Using just his guitar, a microphone, and a computer, his home-recorded solo debut EP, Four Songs in Twilight, appeared in 2010. It was subsequently released three times by three different labels. Saunders began working with a live group of like-minded musicians known as the Fever Dreams, and secured opening gigs for acts like Low, Blue Roses, Patrick Watson, Forest Fire, and Villagers. Due to a burgeoning local reputation for riveting live performances, he earned an opening slot at the Leeds Live music festival, where he came to widespread attention of critics from the British music weeklies.

His second EP, Lilac & Wisteria was issued in 2011 to almost universally positive reviews. He signed to Atlantic in early 2012, and issued another home-recorded EP, Descartes Highlands, at the end of the year. Saunders spent most of 2013 touring and recording his debut for the label. The long-player Beautiful Desolation was released in April of 2014. ~ Thom Jurek

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