PAWS – Youth Culture Forever
October of 2012 saw PAWS‘ first full-length release in the form of Cokefloat! Which helped to bring the energy and exciting dynamics of their live performances into the ears of fans and soon to be fans. Two years later they are back with Youth Culture Forever, filled with ups and downs, robust and reserve. One moment it seems to be tamed, next the group launches back in full force, giving you a taste of the power that this group of gentlemen packs behind their punch. This sophomore record delves into a campy and raw rendition of garage rock, complete with some great tracks you won’t want to miss.
The group starts out seemingly soft on “Erreur Humaine” with some simple echoed vocals and electric guitar plucking, but if you’ve heard anything from this group before, you should know this mellow quality won’t last long and soon the quiet is replaced with raging guitars and amped up vocals. This off and on quality continues through the rest of this track, with the band giving you melancholic reserve and then robust growling chorus.’ Such a song is not complete without some bleak lyrics that portray the author as highly conflicted—you get the choral tag of “one should never go back/fuck with the past,” and later on: “I’m sorry I said I hate you.” This simultaneous feeling of disdain to change what’s already happened and regret for the past are perfectly in tune with the sentiment that the album’s title preaches.
Second up is “Tongues,” which seems to dabble down a surf-rock alley for a little bit and reminds me a lot of some of the tunes put out by Surfer Blood. The band doles out some rolling and deep drums as well as some jangly guitar parts that work together to give it that beachy feel, all while staying pretty fixed in the rock genre. The album then continues in a somewhat similar and yet different manner. This trio gives you highs and lows, be it within an individual track or from song to song. Most of the twelve tracks are pretty short and range a little in style, giving you the opportunity to find some songs to rock with and others to maybe not revisit.
PAWS don’t take themselves too seriously and I don’t think we are meant to take this album in that light; after all, the name for this album apparently originates from the children’s cartoon, Adventure Time. However, if you listen closely, there are some gems of songs that do garage rock justice on Youth Culture Forever and promote a youthful, some may call, punk rock, lifestyle through coming to terms with human emotions like jealously and rage. Rock on.