Firmly into the bedrock of alternative-rock/pop music
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 stylized excellence of composition 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, signalling a profound elevation in their commitment to 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 markers are freed from the shackles of their own self doubt. In addition to frequent collaborator Sune Rose, the due 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 to the new music.
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.
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, melded with guitar sounds that would not be out of place in the 1970s or 1980s, but enveloped in a 21st century production sensibility that makes each song sound timeless and yet very much of the moment.
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 visions 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.
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. As everyone seems to do when they hear Paragon Cause’s music, 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.
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.