now to receive all the new
including this album
and 64 back-catalog items,
delivered instantly to you via the Bandcamp app for iOS and Android.
You’ll also get access to
While the term ‘autopilot’ has connotations of surrendering one’s freedom to a machine or going through the motions, this is far from the truth when it comes to the energy, emotion and compositional prowess put forth by Paragon Cause’s creative core – Jay Bonaparte and Michelle Opthof.
The Ottawa group’s third album, Autopilot is an affirming and resolute benchmark in their career, signaling a profound elevation in superlative songwriting, masterful arrangements, and exceptionally compelling and memorable production.
In short, it is a tour de force, and emblematic of a pair of creative talents who have found their collective voices and who have shed their youthful uncertainty for a sense of musical destiny and artistic gravitas that will hold them in good stead for years to come.
This overflowing confidence, based on the success of their previous album, What We Started, as well as the deepening of their comradeship with their veteran producer/collaborator Sune Rose Wagner (The Raveonettes) is evident in the unparalleled sense of adventure, experimentation and the solidity of the compositions and production of each note of every song on Autopilot.
It is an album that demonstrates the power of positivity for any creative soul, and how powerful the outcome can be when music makers are freed from the shackles of their own self-doubt. In addition to frequent collaborator Sune Rose, the duo further expanded their palate by bringing some iconic and surprising collaborators on board; Liam Howe (Sneaker Pimps, FKA Twiggs, Lana Del Ray) and indie rock legend Eric Avery (Jane’s Addiction, Nine Inch Nails, Garbage) have provided both production and performances.
Bonaparte is generally the compositional instigator, bringing forward a series of chord progressions that generally blossom into full tracks once Opthof and Wagner get on board. The duo’s relationship with Wagner - a native of Denmark and a veteran of the European and North American music industry - has evolved to the point where Bonaparte and Opthof no longer see themselves as starry-eyed newbies, but rather as seasoned professional collaborators. Wagner helped produce the two previous Paragon Cause albums and returned once again to the duo’s studio to help craft the new material on Autopilot.
With Wagner collaborating on every step of the process, Paragon Cause hammered out all the songs for Autopilot in ten days — a spontaneous outpouring of creativity where the music and melody would spark lyrical ideas and vice versa. While they came into the initial sessions with dozens of small ideas for potential songs, the duo estimates that those resulted in minor elements for two tracks. The rest came via flashes of inspiration and excellent chemistry.
Autopilot sees Paragon Cause probing the length and breadth of their musical inspirations, creating a sound that is as memorable as it is unique and original. It features a moodiness and atmospheric nature that comes from the best of the 1990s and early 2000s Brit Pop scene, guitar sounds that would not be out of place in the 1970s or 1980s, and a 21st century production sensibility that makes each song sound timeless and yet very much of the moment.
After the first few songs started to come together, Paragon Cause soon realized there were key thematic veins coursing through the album – the vagaries of time and a jaded sense of outrage over the uglier aspects of modern life. This was primarily expressed within Opthof’s lyrics, but soon the melodies and song structures themselves began to conform to these emotional and thematic parameters.
One of the album’s first singles - Think I’m Going Crazy Over You - has been mixed five different ways to offer different choices of ‘mood’ for the listener. This came from Opthof’s feeling of helplessness in fixing things that are obviously broken, but which are so cemented into place in ‘the way things are done’ that speaking up is useless.
Imbued with confidence and loosed from any self-consciousness, Paragon Cause decided to shoot for the top by cold-calling Liam Howe, one-half of cult ‘90s trip-hop group Sneaker Pimps and a current collaborator with FKA Twigs, Jessie Ware, and Lana Del Rey. Initially, the duo contacted Howe with the idea of him remixing one of the tracks from Autopilot, but he was so excited and inspired by what he heard that he wanted to make some new music instead. Howe produced two unique versions of the track Think I’m Going Crazy Over You - although the songs share the same lyrics, they represent vastly different visions of a core idea.
Like their continuing work with Wagner, Howe’s vision and guidance provided the opportunity for Paragon Cause to be pushed out of their comfort zone and produce music that functions in a club or when relaxing at home.
Another call Paragon Cause made during the making of Autopilot was to Eric Avery, the musician best known for his tenure in legendary alt-rock group, Jane’s Addiction. A long-time fan of Avery’s former band, Bonaparte reached out to him to see if he’d have any interest in working together. Avery was an instant convert, adding bass parts and, with the help of other Los Angeles musicians, drums to some of the music on Autopilot.
From the provocative anti-technology angst of Disconnected to the wry, clever, tongue-in-cheek Play Me, and the assertive, ‘I am not going to be your doormat’ affirmations in Two To Play, Autopilot weaves a magical tapestry of musical dynamism while maintaining a cohesive emotional tone focusing on the challenges of time, our place in the world and the meaning of it all.
It is an album that plants Paragon Cause deeply and firmly into the bedrock of alternative-rock/pop music, and which welcomes the listener to take a journey that is fascinating, intriguing, and endlessly thought-provoking.
released August 13, 2021
All Tracks Written by Michelle Opthof, Jay Bonaparte, and Sune Rose Wagner
Performed by Paragon Cause, Sune Rose Wagner, Eric Avery, and Liam Howe
All tracks produced and mixed by Sune Rose Wagner except:
Think I’m Going Crazy Over You (Jupiter Mix and Brooklyn Mix) produced by Liam Howe
Think I’m Going Crazy Over You (Acorn Manor Mix) produced by Eric Avery
More Than We Can Handle produced by Jay Bonaparte
Time to Leave produced by Jay Bonaparte, remixed by Nature of Wires
Artwork by Jack of Arts
Recorded at Neko Studio, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Mastered by Noah Mintz, Lacquer Channel Mastering, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
There are few bands that can conjure up vivid images as well as emotions through the medium of their music. Paragon Cause,
Ottawa/Nova Scotia's burgeoning ethereal electro-rock sensation, is one of those rare amalgams of talent who can tug on heartstrings, make one think deeply or simply enjoy a sophisticated yet universally accessible musical experience....more