Album Review: Patrick Ames – The Virtualistics

Recorded virtually over the course of the current pandemic, Patrick Ames album, The Virtualistics, takes its name to heart. And, there’s plenty of heart and soul on this new record.

Patrick Ames Brings it on The Virtualistics

Recorded remotely over the course of the pandemic, Patrick Ames and his collaborators never met in person while recording what would become The Virtualistics. Of course, jamming as a band in a studio space is a big part of what makes the magic happen. But, for Patrick Ames and his bandmates, The Virtualistics was a purely virtual endeavor – with the band never even practicing together in person.

But, if you didn’t know the backstory behind this project, you’d never guess that The Virtualistics was produced and recorded in this unorthodox fashion. As soon as you press play on the record, Help People Up gets into its groove instantly. The Blues/Funk vibes spread a message of positivity – which is particularly potent with everyone feeling the widespread effects of COVID-19.

“Feed people love” is a lyric that’s repeated throughout this album opener. And, with smooth grooves and good vibes, this is music to feed the soul.

Patrick Ames: The Virtualistics
Patrick Ames: The Virtualistics – Used with permission

Patrick Ames Hits His Stride

Second Wave addresses the pandemic – and it’s particularly potent given the current climate around the world. There’s a certain unnerving quality about this track – both musically and lyrically – and it does well to capture the feelings and emotions felt by many in these difficult times.

Rubber and Glue takes a drastic turn and shifts the mood of The Virtualistics as a whole. A bluesy lick opens the track. And, the infectious rhythm will have listeners nodding their heads. “Stuck on you” is a repeated lyric throughout the track. And it will likely get “stuck” in listeners’ heads.

The Virtualistics Delivers as a Whole

If there’s one criticism about Patrick Ames and The Virtualistics as a whole, it would be that the vocals are a bit of a letdown. Patrick Ames’ delivery is half-spoken/half-sung and, that may not be for everyone. But, where this album falls short vocally, it more than makes up for lyrically and musically.

Meanwhile, when you consider the way this album was recorded, everyone involved in the project certainly deserves kudos for the finished product. And, even though this album may not appeal to everyone, there’s no denying the musicianship and attention to detail on display.

For anyone looking for music that capitalizes on the current, collective pulse, Patrick Ames delivers. The Virtualistics is a snapshot of the world we are living in. In addition, when you consider how the project was recorded – as well as the content – it’s certainly in line with the times.

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