On the Bandcamp page for The Difference Between Moths and Butterflies, the second of two startlingly beautiful 2011 EPs from Chapel Hill's Logan Pate, the singer lists his influences: Bon Iver, Lykke Li, Fleet Foxes and Madeleine Peyroux. At first, the list seems like a trite run-down of popular indie artists for marketing purposes. Thing is, the album stacks up.
Building from the soulful electronics of his earlier Moths EP, Pate adds hypnotic acoustic guitar, gracing the mix with his extraordinary voice. Even as he lets go in upper-register belts, he manages to maintain a rough whisper. The technique shines brightest on "Give Thanks."
Carried by a soft electronic pulse and subdued handclaps, Pate alters his singing between extreme highs and lows. Keeping one track of his voice clean, he douses another in reverb, allowing it to build into a wash of comfortable noise. At the track's end, additional beats pile on, pushing the momentum. Through distortion, Pate cries, "Good things are coming my way!"
After this EP, it's hard to think he's not right. Pate melts heartache into simple, yet entrancing arrangements and a truly disarming croon. On his Bandcamp description, Pate also claims this EP is "clumsy and sleepy." Oh well. You can't be right every time.