As far as new band names go, last year’s ‘wolf’ may be next year’s ‘paper’. The Paper Scissors, Paper Tigers, and now Paper Rival are all holding up the flag. The Paper Scissors may be the ones with most buzz, but in a small scale way Paper Rival are not bad at all, either. Their debut EP is a fine example of a young band approaching, but not 100% reaching, a definitive sound. “Alabama” opens things up with a strong acoustic drumbeat and Cody McCall’s pure falsetto trailing around above. It’s an interesting and fresh sound, one that easily expands into a more conventional big-screen guitars+emo-style vocal sound. At their most relaxed the band really soars, as on “A Fox in the Garden” (if you hear the Beatles in the end of their chorus you won’t be alone). The young group is still finding its most comfortable place, musically—hopefully that’s something closer to their haunting, tapped-out ballads than the more conventional route they sometimes hint at.
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