The angular opening to “Enemies” is reminiscent of At The Drive-In, while the emotive vocals of Justin really recall something like Third Eye Blind. “We Come Down” is an example of a nice use of nuance and negative space to really create a dynamic tension that will titillate listeners and subjugate them all the more to the music on “Plastic”. The slightly electronic-tinged sound of “Decorate Your Pavement” brings the track closer to the realm of Fischerspooner or Head Automatica, but the maintenance of a certain brand of rock really allows them to hit hard on a number of different levels. The restrained nature of “Friends” really shows Paint By Numbers as a fully-mature band; there are so many times on the track where the band could go off into a Brand New-like sound but rather drag along listeners until that point in which they wish to hit them the hardest.
Even though the runtime of “Platic” is nearly forty minutes, the compositions of Paint By Numbers fly through even faster than a thrash act’s first recording. The type of echo used during “Seventh Story” has been trite in the past (owing to heavy use), but is really done by Paint By Numbers in a way that the track continues the same brand of furious, compelling emo-tinged rock. The multiple vocals that are such the norm during “Seventh Story” are perhaps the moment when Paint By Numbers has a critical epiphany; while each of the tracks preceding and proceeding “Seventh Story” are ready for radio and crafted perfectly for those musicophiles, “Seventh Story” is the pinnacle of the band’s music for this album.
This is a hybrid of the two distinct forms of emo that have gained prominence in the last decade; taking more than a few notes from the emotive and earthy, Appleseed Cast-type of rock, Paint By Numbers look towards the current (Fall Out Boy) type of emo for a quick fuse and high amounts of energy. This meshing allows for something completely new to dominate, something that is compelling and delightful throughout. Instead of front-loading their tracks, “Sirens” is yet another strong hit for Paint By Numbers, with Justin’s vocals containing a sly harmony that keeps the flame burning even in the latest stages of the disc. Like a fine wine, “Plastic” starts off great but tends to peak at an orgasmic level right before the final track “Pictures Last Longer” begins.
Top Tracks: Sirens, Steps
Paint By Numbers – Plastic / 2005 Rise / 10 Tracks / http://www.paintbynumbersmusic.com / http://www.riserecords.com / Reviewed 25 October 2005