It’s tough not to sound like a pretentious music elitist when you are discussing something you feel very passionate about. So, if I come across as one right now, I apologize right off the bat. If you can’t find something to like in Paper Route, then you don’t appreciate good music. It’s even tough for me to try to convey my thoughts on this album when I can’t even fully comprehend how complex it is.
Paper Route is a four piece band from Nashville, Tennessee that was formed in 2004 after several other bands had disassembled. As of late, the band has been touring with music scene heavyweights such as Paramore, Jack’s Mannequin, and Copeland. Audiences and fans alike have been thoroughly impressed and have had nothing but great things to say about the band, mostly because they have only been touring on a couple of EPs and haven’t had a lot of material to work with, which brings us to the present place and time, April 28, 2009. Paper Route’s debut album Absence is officially available. So how does it stack up? Let’s just say that it’s one of the best albums of the year so far.
Now, when I heard that Paper Route was going on tour with Paramore, I gave them a listen and I was impressed. They had well written songs, but nothing really stood out to me, so going into Absence, I had no real basis to go by which made the album so amazing. It’s was one of those experiences when you discover a band for the first time and are completely blown away and that overwhelming feeling of joy and adrenaline takes control of you. It is really unexplainable unless you have had it, but that’s what music does to people.
Absence starts out with the a slow opener called “Enemy Among Us,” which I probably wouldn’t have picked as the starting track but its smooth melodies draw you in for more. “Wish” chases the slow opening track with more intensity, and it’s a better example of what the band is all about. Daly lays down the soft lines, “The memories of losing you, you’re like a ghost/ Tracing where I said to you/ I wish you would listen to get through it,” over the mix of synth, samples, and catchy piano lines. “Carousel,” the first single off the album probably has the most marketability for the band. Again, Daly sings about a relationship where things continue to go on until its gone too far. The chorus, as simple as it is, just seems to work: “On and on and on we go/ Just like a carousel that’s lost control/ We don’t know why, we don’t know why/ We go, we go, we go in circles.” While the song isn’t too over the top, its pretty fast for their slow and melodic style.
“Good Intentions” is probably my least favorite track on the album. Although it is filled with heavy lyrics, the background female vocals remind me of some backing track you would hear back in the ’90s. “Tiger Teeth” contains a simple beat that almost has an oriental touch to it, but it isn’t overdone. The way the band blends their vocals, samples, and instrumentation is just pure genius. They seem to do things where you wouldn’t expect them and it ends up working out for the best.
“No Sudden Revelations” shows another one of the bands multiple personalities, displaying their style of post-rock to the fullest — it starts off with soothing instrumentation and shows how Daly uses his voice as an instrument. As the song progresses, more layers are added with the various voices and chorus effect to boot. This ends quite abruptly as “Gutter” storms in with a heavy beat that sounds like The Wu-Tang Clan is about to drop some killer verses. Although they do not, it’s quite alright as Paper Route demonstrate how to take a song with heavy synth and make it completely original and creative unlike other artists. The album closes with “Dance On Our Graves,” and it does so on a high note. Daly’s repetition of the chorus “I need you now/ I need you now more than ever before,” gets stronger as the song progresses. The album comes to a close with the final lines, “When we see the light when we’re going home/ We’ll dance on our graves with our bodies below/ We’ll sing glory hallelujah,” leaving you moved and wanting more.
I can see this record being the Illuminate of 2009 if people give it the chance. It holds the same credentials and value as that record and deserves to be heard. This is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have heard in some time and it has been stuck in my head since I heard it. This band is definitely worth your time, so don’t think twice about picking this up. With 2009 holding a lot of promises as far as music goes, this album will definitely live up to its expectations.