written by Chris Familton
Fans of Sydney’s The Paper Scissors have had to endure a four year wait for their second album to see the light of day. Thankfully their patience has been rewarded with a highly accomplished and wide ranging collection of songs that embrace both artful leanings and instantly gratifying pop music.
In Loving Memory finds the band expanding their sound with electronic dabblings scattered across many of the album tracks. These range from the dark drones and pulse on Dozens to the anthemic synth stabs in the latter part of Over There. That song in particular sees them giving themselves totally to their pop muse with an intro straight from the book of Phoenix and some ravishing electro fueled disco rhythms. It somehow works wonderfully well in the overall context of the record, stretching their range yet never alienating it from the other songs.
Singer Jai Pyne is still the deal breaker in The Paper Scissors. With a voice that sounds like a strangled larynx wrestling lyrics into submission he has a enthralling knack for getting inside the vocal melody and phrasing of the songs and making them an addictive listen. The album opener Disco Connect is a gentle introductory track that quickly gains its legs as Pyne lets rip on the line “shut down your machines, leave me the fuck alone”. On that note bassist Xavier Naughton and drummer Ivan Lisyak lock in a clipped, watertight groove signaling that this is going to be an album built on both precision and emotion.
Lisyak is the other major revelation on In Loving Memory. Always noted as a great drummer, here he runs the gamut from Mogwai post rock grandeur to the tumbling rapid fire percussive delivery on Soft Pig. His deft touch and ability to play both within and adjacent to the song lends comparison to Radiohead’s Phil Selway, albeit with a more muscular touch.
Lung Sum was the first single released from the album last year and it still stands as one of the indie pop high points of 2010. With a chorus that takes out a mortgage in your brain it is the undeniable spine to the record but thankfully it doesn’t overshadow the album’s other important moments. Mechanism (Thick Mortar) surges along in an Arcade Fire manner, Turn It To Gold is a pen pal to Wild Beasts’s pop re-imaginations and On Your Hand, with its faux Queens of the Stone Age intro, possesses a killer bass line amid its jerky, shifting arrangement.
Lyrically the songs cover a whole range of topics seemingly pulled from life experiences, people and places. The strength in this subject matter is that it isn’t thematically tied to being say a relationship record or nostalgia trip. It is those things and more and that is what makes In Loving Memory an impressive tribute to emotions, thoughts and ideas delivered with both restraint and a feeling of freedom gained from creativity.
this review was first published on FasterLouder