Review: The Paperhead – The Paperhead Focus in on the Looking Glass
Published on February 13th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
The buzz: Nashville teens reared on vintage English psychedelia join the roster of Cornershop-run label Ample Play and release full-length album that leaves Rocksucker – in absolutely a good way – really quite bewildered.
Sounds like: In the intro of our recent interview with band co-singer/lead guitarist Ryan Jennings, we described The Paperhead as sounding a bit like “an especially monged Olivia Tremor Control travelling back in time through a swamp in Ray Davies’ garden.” And, even upon further listening, we very much choose to stand by this.
Opener “Rounding Out” is basically “Taxman” after a colossal bong hit, just on the ‘charm’ side of ‘ramshackle’ in a way that disintegrates you atom by atom and restores you in the band’s own sun-dazzled parallel universe, and this leaves “Yellow Book” as the more coherent welcoming party, all jangle ‘n’ fuzz in a peacock plumage display of tangential unison. That may not entirely make sense, but even at this early stage that ship has sailed.
“Dear Mr. Vacant” reveals what would happen if The Kinks and The Pretty Things bathed in lysergic acid and jammed, “Carousal” sounds as if it’s trying to set “A Minha Menina” up with a place on The Three E.P.’s, while the swirling organ and muddied psych of “In a Living Swing” appears to be trying to do similar with The Doors and Kevin Ayers.
For whatever reasons, much of the album’s second half is instrumental, although one feels that “Haze” is selling itself short in terms of its title, being in fact a bewildering blast of driving garage prog, and this is followed with the merry alien sounds of “Railroad Crossing”, epic Da Capo-esque jam “Evergreen Tangerine”, the tanpura and flute-addled “The Coyote”, and finally “The Green Hare”, so closely entwined with “The Coyote” that it even clocks in at the exact same running time (that’s 3:26, stats fans).
As the album fades out with birdsong and the hum of a distant aeroplane, you are well advised to go and make yourself a nice cup of tea in order to lubricate your gradual restoration to reality. Pay attention, Nashville; you have a new sound, and it’s ace.
In a few words: Far out, man.
Kind of like a cross between: a pleasant countryside stroll and an acid adventure.
The Paperhead Focus in on the Looking Glass is out now on Ample Play Records. For more information and a list of live dates, please visit www.myspace.com/lookingglasssound or the band’s Facebook page.