While Wheelies frontman Patrick Doherty's earlier EP Rail Car was a folk-pop exercise in controlled minimalism, his latest solo outing Father of Peace veers into the trappings of bedroom pop and the winking studio trickery that accompanies it. On these eight new tracks, Doherty feels simultaneously relaxed and pointed as a singer-songwriter. Before long, we're plunged into the standout “Stand in Line,” a rumbling ode to only wanting to drink if that someone special's drinking, too. It's here where Father of Peace announces itself as something new and different for Doherty as a performer, full-bodied in emotion and sound.
The nimble “Small Talk” is driven by a sprightly guitar and some gently propulsive percussion, leading into the gauzy, compelling “It All Was True.” Along the way, Doherty's biggest gift is his penchant for approachable journaling, revealing as much about his unique experiences as he does about all of ours. His lyrics tend toward romance and loneliness – fondly remembering carefree nights at bars, resenting that those easier times are gone, enchanted at the idea of spending time with someone who doesn't share these anxieties.
For all of Father of Peace's flirtation with darkness of both tone and message, it ends on an up note with the unexpectedly lively electro-funk pulse of “Backpack Beers.” This is an album that takes a stab at showing unknown sides to Doherty, and uncovers a depth and playful recklessness that suggests greater leaps to come.