Monday, February 28, 2011

I guess I don’t like the Papercuts anymore

My review from today’s Dusted:

Something has gone very wrong with Jason Quever’s Papercuts over the last couple of albums. The tension in pop hallmark Can’t Go Back was between dreamy dissolution and insistent, guitar-driven forward motion. You could feel actual longing, actual striving in cuts like “Dear Employee,” and “John Brown,” a pulse of life even in their most cloud-gazing intervals. It was a great pop album, hinting at even bigger success to come. But with the follow-up, You Can Have What You Want Quever de-emphasized jangle and strum in favor of oozing atmospheres of sustained keyboard tones. It was easy to get lost in thick miasmas of sound, to lose the thread of the narrative and melody.

Fading Parade brings back the guitars, but continues the slide toward formlessness, with songs that are always pleasant but no longer very compelling. Quever is reaching for Spector’s all-enveloping wall of sound, but forgetting how grounded that sound was in classic rock ‘n’ roll rhythms. It was Spector, after all, who encased that archetypical “boom … ba-boom chick” beat into “Be My Baby;” there was a spine in even his most aura-fogged compositions.


“Do What You Will”

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