Album Review: Papercuts – Life Among the Savages

papercuts-life-among-the-savagesWhen a band takes a three year hiatus in between albums, it’s usually a fair assumption that they’ve been working not only on new music, but a reinvention or transformation from what they once were. This is just the case for Papercuts recent album release, Life Among The Savages. The tracks don’t differ so drastically from the past four Papercuts albums that the connection is unclear, but the development and maturity of this album is the most concise and mature to date. Fundamentally, the songwriting sill centers on Jason Robert Quever once again pulling all the strings (literally and figuratively) for this album, as he wrote, played, recorded, and produced, and arranged it—all out of his own home studio in San Francisco, CA.

A papercut, in the most literal sense, is a wound that is just barely there but delivers a painful and lingering hurt that can’t be ignored. This truly is the best name for Quever’s creations. Whispered pop that doesn’t deliver as a slap in the face, but rather it emits a heavy ambience of melancholy swell that still manages to loiter and monopolize your attention. Quever sings most delicately as he delivers heavy topics with track titles such as Afterlife Blues. There’s not one song on the album that strays too far from the herd. Individual tracks work toward a collaborative whole, as each song delivers the same somber energy as the next. But the title track takes the cake out of the entire nine track playlist—pulsating strings lead into a soft ballad which was executed with the help of Baltimore brethren Alex Scally of Beach House. Halfway through the album, I discovered an obvious homage to The Velvet Underground in the track, Family Portrait. Other influences seem to stem from the same creative mindset—psychedelic and dreaming pop like The Byrds, Galaxie 500, and Sonic Youth.

Life Among The Savages is an album where the songs bleed into one another from beginning to end. Attempting to listen to one song as a time builds a musical house of cards—one song simply isn’t as strong as the other. I couldn’t really appreciate the album for all it was worth until I allowed each song to complement the next. There’s a constant echo that reverberates from beginning to end that keeps the songs moving, like a story. When one aspect is removed, the story loses momentum and meaning. This isn’t to say that listening to a single four minute tune has no merit, but if time is on your side, I recommend letting this album play out in its entirety to appreciate all Quever, and Papercuts, has to offer.

Pop Press International © 2018 All Rights Reserved

All photos licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress