Label: Fat Possum
Released: 21st May 2021
“You are the captain of your own flight today,” opens Patrick Paige II’s second solo album. As he invites you aboard, it is a notion that resonates throughout the album’s seventeen tracks, and not just for the listener. He might encourage you to take the reins, but it is undoubtedly Paige sitting comfortably in the cockpit on ‘If I Fail Are We Still Cool?’.
Coming at the intersection of the bassist’s obsession with aviation and that quality of his music that demands agency, there’s something inherently liberating to this sky-high new venture from The Internet’s beloved member. It bristles with ambition in a shade that suits the artist perfectly. Combining earnest musings on intention and motivation with brazenly confident delivery and inimitable cool, each track feels as though it pushes Paige’s sound to a new level. ‘So They Say’ leans into its irresistible bass line to reiterate his encouragement to take control: it’s an effortlessly introspective kind of groove.
From the slick rapping on ‘Freestyle’ featuring Saba to the blazingly upbeat ‘New Habits’ featuring Paco, each track seems to shatter the limits Paige might’ve faced up against before. There’s absolutely no playing it safe: it is ignited and enthused with Paige’s unfaltering drive. Calling upon his The Internet bandmate Steve Lacy alongside Allen Love and Durand Bernar on ‘Whisper (Want My Luv), he takes swirling, sultry synths and transforms them into pure funk. It’s completely revelatory and bold, and it soars because of it.
Littered with in-flight voiceovers, there’s no shaking the sense of ‘If I Fail Are We Still Cool?’ being an important journey for Paige. The destination may be as yet unknown, but the opportunity to steer its direction is something that he revels in. It’s imbued with a passion that carries the project to those new heights. Patrick Paige II is turning on the seatbelt sign – it’s a sharp ascent ahead.