The idea behind Complexity in Simplicity grew out of De Roover’s previous fascination with choice. Instead of being forced to choose between the metaphorical windows and doors of his previous album (pursuing ideals versus accepting reality), De Roover combines difficult concepts with simple expression for his strongest work to date. Integrating complex sounds within a pop-centred structure, his 4th studio album is all about incorporation, not exclusion.
In 2009, De Roover released Windows and Doors, a CD/DVD with unique 3D packaging. Instead of trying to outdo himself, De Roover takes a minimalist approach, musically and visually. Although the recordings still hearken back to his earlier work in terms of complexity, the structures of the various songs emphasize his new found appreciation of simple yet well constructed pop songs. To back up De Roover’s signature post-pop sound, the record features live drums and bass in addition to his guitar, vocals and added keys and synths. The intricacies of his unique writing style are demonstrated by his ability to embed complex themes (and over 100 layers of sounds on some tracks) and musical ideas within seemingly simple songs. Even the packaging maintains a stark contrast to the elaborate artwork of his previous albums.
Complexity in Simplicity was produced by Juno-nominated Ben Leggett of Corbeil, ON and De Roover himself. “Having a producer come in was a big step for me,” De Roover admits, “I’ve self-produced everything before this, but the collaborative production process between Ben and I resulted in some of my strongest writing. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.” The album was recorded and mixed in Thunder Bay, ON at Dining Room Studios with engineers Chris Dorota and Dave Angell, and mastered by Phil Demetro at Lacquer Channel Mastering. The lineup is complete with Dennis Dumphy on drums and Dorota on bass guitar.
Written over the past 4 years, Complexity in Simplicity opens with Silhouettes Pass (1), whose building atmosphere will be familiar to fans of Windows and Doors, with lyrics that hardworking independent artists everywhere can connect with. One By One (3) shows De Roover returning to his a cappella roots (as heard on his 2011 EP, Pitch Pipes) with a vocal heavy arrangement, but fully embracing his pop-driven writing with the inclusion of a full band sound. As he juxtaposes upbeat hooks with somber lyrics, De Roover’s listeners will find themselves simultaneously elated and reflective. Listeners will be surprised at how much fun they’ll have singing the powerfully bleak line “never in love / enough’s enough.” Dramatically different from his earlier albums, Man With No Hands (2), shows De Roover’s evolution as a songwriter, expanding beyond his own experiences, chronicling the story of a man who loses the ability to provide for his family and is betrayed by the very people that put him in harm’s way.
Hope (8) is about taking time for self-improvement and the realizations that come from those introspections. While some songs are empowering, Break My Soul (5) exposes his vulnerable side; “How about you break my soul / it will keep us together for one more night / I’m afraid of things like love / binding agreements you can’t escape from.” The album’s closing track, She’s Happy (10) explores the last moments of a tender goodbye where a young woman wears a brave face while bidding a tearful farewell to her lover, bringing the album to its bittersweet conclusion.
released March 23, 2013
Independently released, March 23rd, 2013
Produced by Ben Leggett & Jean-Paul De Roover (SOCAN)
Recorded/mixed by Chris Dorota at Dining Room Studios, Thunder Bay, ON
Mastered by Phil Demetro at Lacquer Channel Mastering, Toronto, ON
Funded in part by the Ontario Arts Council
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