Paper Tiger, a year-old quartet from San Francisco, gives us a debut EP that’s four short songs of dirty and standard rock, little more. The group has mainstream aspirations and, at their best, are radio-catchy, as on leadoff track “Pet the Rabbit”. The song’s paired nostalgia/retro-sheened pop-punk is content to be just sunny, never virtuosic. Throughout, guitar solos are abbreviated at best, but it’s ok because it keeps the songs snappy. Bright Dreams of Cold Revenge doesn’t quite know what it wants to be—styles veer from almost straight pop-punk to country-tinged ballads—but it shows a band that’s at least exuberantly good-natured. I kind of wished they’d made more of the cello accents that, say, close out “Rise at Eight”. As it is, these songs fly dangerously close to pleasant-but-forgettable. Of course, the lyrics are full of cliché: “Don’t turn away / I feel no pain”, e.g. and “Father Foley”‘s garbled Christian imagery, but we don’t really care. It’s enough, for now, that the young group has evident musicianship and the energy to throw ideas out until something sticks.
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