Monday, May 12, 2014

REVIEW: PAWS - Youth Culture Forever

Youth Culture Forever, the sophomore LP from Scottish power trio PAWS doesn't find them all grown up and matured, and we are thankful for that.  But it does reveal growth, some filling in of gaps, and extensions into previously unexplored (or at least unrecorded) territory.  While the evident influences remain '90s alternative rock, the lyrical expressions are focused on a wider scope of issues and provide sharper observations than on the band's debut LP Cokefloat.  The album is replete with recitations of things that can make us sad -- failed relationships, dead friends, lack of connection -- which makes one wonder whether 'youth culture forever' is being celebrated or mocked.  However dire the sentiment, however, the expressions are bold and convincing.  If the thought is that disappointment is better expressed at the top of your register with crashing instruments and your mates singing oohhs and aahhs in the background, I'd be inclined to agree.  At the very least, it makes this album a keeper.

On Youth Culture Forever the rhythm section rumbles manfully, the guitar is chunky and the production is solid.  But the secret sauce, if you will, is that whether the band is thrashing in garage/grunge territory or embarking on a more restrained explorations of sound, the core of each track is a worthy pop song.  And a band that writes this well can continue to provide good music as they mature.

The album is out now on FatCat Records.

FatCat Records

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