Paper Moon: One Thousand Reasons to Stay . . . One to Leave
Though maybe not a thousand, there are certainly a great many reasons to like Paper Moon's debut full-length release, One Thousand Reasons To Stay . . . One to Leave. Here are six of them:
Reason 1: The band's press release. I love a good press release, and Paper Moon has succeeded in forwarding one that's innovative and funny.
All the necessary information is there -- a short bio, information about the album, the players and their positions in the band, email addresses and websites, phone numbers and names of relevant contacts -- as well as a bizarre little strip down the side of the paper detailing tidbits about Paper Moon such as a "File Under" category, letting me know that the band describes itself as "new-wave influenced pop", the track numbers that are the band's own favorites and a list of artists Paper Moon "would sound good on a mix tape with" including the Cardigans, Blondie, and the Sundays.
Reason 2: Pedigree. The members of Paper Moon are seasoned musicians who have been working in the music industry and performing for a number of years prior to the birth of the band.
Principal band members Allison and Bob Somers and Chris Hiebert were all members of defunct Prairie Music Award-nominated band, the Bonaduces, as well as the mildly successful B'ehl. B'ehl's Bright Eyes record earned excellent reviews worldwide, including a Critic's Choice review in Billboard magazine, spent time at the top of Canadian campus radio charts and even managed to get a song played in an episode of Dawson's Creek. Campbell's vocals, also, are by no means unfamiliar to Canadian audiences, having featured on three albums released by critically acclaimed pop/rock outfit, the Electrosonics.
Paper Moon melds the best parts of each of these acts to create a fresh, hip collection of songs.
Reason 3: Singer Heather Campbell's squeaky, lollipop-girl vocals are reminiscent of the Murmurs, Lisa Loeb and, oddly, Joey Lauren Adams in her ode to her sweetheart in the 1997 film, Chasing Amy. Campbell's gleeful, hippie-like voice breathes bubbly life into the band's pop-fuelled, rockin' tunes, sounding at once innocent and dominant.
Reason 4: The band's startling ability to create infectious pop-rock melodies, consistently competent in their writing and playing. Campbell and Somers keep their guitars upbeat and forceful throughout, with just the right amount of pumping backbeat from drummer, Hiebert.
Paper Moon's unrelenting joviality is completely refreshing. The band ensure the album's energetic tracks -- the best of which being "Remember Me" and "Better Days" -- remain toe-tappingly catchy from beginning to end, though even the album's solitary ballad, "I've Done It Wrong Again", manages to get your shoulders shaking.
Reason 5: Song titles like "Your Thesaurus Won't Help You Now". With intricate, expressive twists in their song lyrics and titles, the Paper Moon guys demonstrate a distinct love of language. "Thesaurus" features a couple a real gems, including "Wrestle phrases from a frozen mind / Extract the necessary lines to ensure continuance / Of what I've taken for granted all this time".
The earthy "The History of Punctuation", about a relationship slowly falling apart, features a lot of this refined songwriting, with the band constructing mind-bending tongue twisters like "If fleeting intentions are ignored without resolve / Building together runs on and on" and "Things can never be the same / Empty pages speak volumes / Reams of endless chatter / Never see the light outside your room" sung by Campbell at rapid-fire pace.
And, the beautifully titled "Pancake Bay Weather Station" sees the band create another lyrically complex song about discovering the present by charting the past via old photo albums: "There amidst the blurry highway curiosities badly framed landscapes and poorly lit places is a startling revelation / I hadn't expected to find / This is me looking over my shoulder / This is me watching something that's just out of view / This is me pretending I had what I wanted / And this was you".
Honorable groovy-title mentions go, also, to "Sno-Globe" and "Mercury Is Clearly Opposing Neptune".
Reason 6: One Thousand Reason is simply a lively, intelligent blend of pop/rock tracks each instantly likeable, danceable and capable.