Sifting through the multitude of reviews for You Are All I See, the debut album of Active Child, you’ll undoubtedly read repeated comparisons of Pat Grossi to Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. Granted, there is a definite resemblance on some songs (Bon Iver’s “Calgary” primarily) however there is a depth in Grossi’s delivery, the likes I haven’t heard since Jimmy Somerville sang of a young gay man’s escape from a small town to the big city.
You Are All I See encapsulates within its 10 tracks a tightly wound energy that strains with urgency, contained only by the control of Grossi’s lyrics, a control mastered by his choir-singing experience. The album’s opener and title track tip-toes into ethereal layers of tinkling harps as an angelic Grossi promises “all good things in time” before moving into the earthy, more melodic “Hanging On”. The momentum of the album evolves in this subtle way, easing back momentarily for the music-box beautiful instrumental “Ivy” before delving into darker territory with “Ancient Eye”, a mysterious and haunting beginning to the end.
The harmonious epicenter of the record is pinpointed in “Shield & Sword” in which gloomy synths soar, drum machines are set to rapid-fire, and the voice of Active Child floats above it all in echoing splendor. Like any sophisticated album, listeners should submit to You Are All I See as a beginning-to-end offering in order to truly appreciate its nuances and will benefit from all it has to offer by doing so.