Digging deep into the stack for this one, which came out back in March of this year. Colorado band Paper Bird is a seven-member ensemble with a rootsy sound that’s indebted to both classic rock and indie folk, landing somewhere in between on a branch that takes the undeniable grooves of the former and grafts the more precious self-conscious mannerisms of the latter on top for a style that’s mannered yet meaty, densely arranged yet wide open to possibilities.
“Seaside Lullaby” explores the baroque indie folk side of things, like Andrew Bird or Of Montreal‘s quieter numbers, while “Blood & Bones” executes a gently swaggering guitar riff that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Black Crowes album in support of bluesy female vocals (both lead and backing doo-wops) that recall Maggie Bell.
The band is at its best when forging a new melange of acoustic folk and blues with memorable storytelling, as in “Reigning Days of Grace”, which plinks and plucks its way through a tale of love and survival told in esoteric snippets:
With a song you held me fast and steady in your heart
Through your eyes you have taught me truer than the archer’s harm
Throughout the album the constant feeling is one of pleasant surprise, as each song offers a different sonic treat, from the vocal/percussion chant of “Hold It Down” to the encouraging call to action of “Just Sing,” a sentiment this writer and singer can wholly identify with.
If your heart is beating
or if your heart is beaten up
If you’re rolling down a long winding track
and you don’t believe in luck