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The Paperhead

The Paperhead

(Trouble in Mind; US: 15 Mar 2011; UK: 15 Mar 2011)

More songs, less noodling, please

The Paperhead combine a retro, groovy vibe with an assortment of studio tricks to create a facsimile of 1960s hippie rock that is almost uncanny in its approximation of the real thing. Strummed jangly guitars and sleepy vocals combine with Indian instruments like sitar and tabla—remember when they were de rigeur for any aspiring band?—along with effects that sure sound like backward-playing cymbal crashes and distorted percussion tracks. “Let Me Know” and “Can’t Keep My Eyes Open” use these elements to good effect, overcoming pedestrian vocals to create songs both unpredictable and fun. Elsewhere, the tunes often run thin, as in the minute-long, droney “Getting Older”, or the two-part “Excerpt from Simon’s”, which comprises little more than quick instrumental jam outtakes. The meandering, go-nowhere strumming of “Evergreen Tangerine” is another example. Nearly half the tracks are throwaways like this; the band would be better served by leaving such self-indulgent snippets in the vault, while concentrating on writing more, you know, songs.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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