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.

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics.

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.

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics.
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Ratings and Reviews

5.0 out of 5
2 Ratings

2 Ratings

MPLS22 ,

Finally on ITunes!

I've been waiting since 2014 for this to show up on iTunes. So glad it did! I could compare the sound to Amber Run and I love them both. Yay!

DukeAltum ,

Spectacular

This album has got to make my number one list of most amazing underrated works of music. But Beautiful Desolation means more to me than that; it is quite possible that the record may make my all-time favorite albums list as well. Paul Thomas Saunders is so little known, and yet I consider his first full record to be in the library of every music enthusiast, no matter what genres they prefer. Beautiful Desolation is a work like no other. If the song titles "Starless State of the Moonless Barrow" and "On Into the Night" didn't give away that the record has a night theme to it, listening to the opening of the first track, "Kawai Celeste" will take the listener to a place floating in the starry sky, looking down upon a moonlit desert. Hearing every song is like falling into a pool of magical sound that completely surrounds you, and your mind is unable to resist the distinct feelings it brings to the spirit. Beautiful Desolation, Saunders' first record, is a masterpiece.

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