I’ve spent the better part of the last two weeks playing Past Perfect over and over again; it’s an album that travels well regardless of where you go, be it your bedroom, your car, the gym, home office, whatever. While there are definitely bright spots, the overall execution from Paperfangs demonstrates a well-rounded effort that any music aficionado can sink their teeth into.
My first few runs through the record, I definitely gravitated towards the 1-2 punch of the openers. “In Age” takes a second to open up, but the calm electronic playfulness that ensues reminded me of a Finnish Arab Strap. It’s not a track that hits you over the head with production, yet somehow it manages to hit home every time I press play. But, “Bathe In Glory” is where I lost myself; the light keyboard wash, the deep vocals and the glancing guitar in the background fit perfectly into a nice bit of nostalgia…nostalgia done right.
As my time with Past Perfect unfolded, I began to give the group more credit for their production values. For instance, take a song like “This Power,” which could be perceived as just another bedroom pop hit. However, there’s little touches of horns and piano that really add depth to the track, and don’t miss the sampled vocals that lurk far far in the background of the tune. It’s easy to overlook such little touches, but I think that’s what’s really allowed me to delve into the record repeatedly for so long. It’s like an audial puzzle, begging for you to identify the various layers and textures the group put into the recording.
Another aspect of the band that many should take note of comes through in their music as well…the visual. It’s always been the band’s focus to include such touches in the live production of their music, but several minor sound bites allow Paperfangs to include those notes in their music too. One moment that stands out is in the closer, “His Famous Last Painting,” where the samples open the song, but also reappear throughout the track momentarily. I think it’s important for all to be aware of such things, as it will definitely lend itself to a more complete understanding of the group’s aesthetic, not to mention clues to how one should listen to the album.
At first, Past Perfect may appear as just a simple electronically enhanced pop record, but don’t sell the effort or yourself short. Spend a few quieted hours listening to the songs that Paperfangs have created and the odds are that you’ll be constructing your very own visual landscapes where the tunes are fitting. The more you allow yourself to uncover and dream with the album, the more emotional benefits you’ll get, allowing you to spin the record for hours on end.
Download: Paperfangs – Bathe In Glory [MP3]
Past Perfect is available now from Soliti Music.