Paperface – The Legend of Harley Knowles (CD)

Paperface occupies that wonderful position besides popular-emo and the brand of indie-rock popularized by acts like Weezer. Tracks like “Company Soul” do not have the emotional intensity present in current emo, but have a brooding nature to it that belies the feel-good arrangements within. There are hints of acts like Counting Crows in tracks like “Loser’s Game”, where Paperface come forth with a richly-arranged sound that tends to be a constant through the later reaches of the disc. Infusing tracks with “Good Times” with a funk groove that is oddly up to date (the overtly-electronic synth), Paperface stand at the nexus of a number of styles and eras. In fact, tracks like “Good Times” would essentially what Ben Folds wishes ey was doing.

There is a rag-time, swing dance feel to the end of “Good Times” that further expounds upon the hackneyed formula of acts like the Brian Setzer Orchestra; there is a fullness to Paperface’s track that was never present on any prior release. The band veers into the emo realm first poached by bands like The Early November’s acoustic album and Midtown during “Familiar Faces”; this is perhaps the most genuine track since Blessid Union of Souls came out with their last album. Simple structures bring a familiarity to the track to anyone listening in, regardless of whether they have heard Paperface in the past. The incorporation of strings into “Familiar Faces” gives the track a timeless feel, while Chris’ vocals continue to impress. What most people will not be able to fathom about Paperface is that the music created on “The Legend of Harley Knowles” is done completely by two siblings; the difference in compositions really does not usually manifest itself when two individuals enjoy such a close bond.

In much the same way as The Rocket Summer, Paperface is able to re-vamp older styles (the piano-driven pop of Billy Joel and Elton John) with a current sound that will bring many new listeners into their stable by the end of the disc. The band likes a challenge, too; “Three Times A Week” goes well over the six-minute mark and does not seem the worse for wear. The slower tempo of the track seems to provide an environment rife for disaster, but the continual innovation on the track really allows the band to shine even during these adverse circumstances. This is a challenging effort, so individuals may just want to take an hour out while Paperface’s music washes over them.

Top Tracks: Three Times A Week, Good Times

Rating: 6.3/10

Paperface – The Legend of Harley Knowles

Paperface – The Legend of Harley Knowles / 2005 Paperface / 12 Tracks / / / Reviewed 11 November 2005


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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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