The new album from Papercuts, Parallel Universe Blues, aligns in sonic terms with a lot of what's on parent label Slumberland Records. And yet, at the same time, there's a gentle lyricism here that suggests new directions for modern indie-pop bands to pursue. If Jason Quever's project is the sort of thing that chimes in all the right ways, it's always a record that bridges smart-pop with dream-pop, the brain and the heart sharing control here.
While some of this ("Clean Living", "Waking Up") indicates a love of shoegaze pioneers, Quever at least imbues this material with a remarkable amount of charm, such that the bigger numbers here ("Laughing Man", "How To Quit Smoking") positively ring with promise. These brighter selections are buoyantly tuneful and ripe with a lot of possibilities. And while the catchier tracks here on Parallel Universe Blues took me back a few decades to the heydays of bands like The Ropers and Lilys, a few others, like the poppy "Walk Backwards" brought to mind both The Clientele and Ride. While I quite liked the Medicine-y "Sing To Me Candy", I preferred the compositions here that put more emphasis on melody than effects. Now, that's not to say that Quever gets lost in his pedals here, but, rather, to praise how easily he finds his way around a big hook. There are loads of bands out there mining this vein of shoegaze gold, but few finding nuggets as peppy and promising as, for example, "Kathleen Says", a nice blend of Ultra Vivid Scene and Black Tambourine.
Jason Quever as Papercuts has already earned plenty of praise for earlier releases, but Parallel Universe Blues is such a pleasant listen that I'm sure he's going to get lots of new fans when this one drops. Fans of Pale Saints, Swallow, and all those bands I referenced up above, are sure to love this one as much as I do.
More details on Papercuts via the band's official Facebook page.
[Photo: Courtesy of the artist and PR firm]