Papermoons – “No Love”

“Standing out from the crowd of indie rock offerings in a timely fashion, No love, an identifiable, musically rich elixir for the weary and the hopeful…” -HE

Holly Etchison

out of 10

No Love
September 17, 2013
Deep Elm Records

Four years after their debut album, Austin, TX music making duo Matt Clark and Daniel Hawkins, Papermoons, have resurfaced with No love, a delicately intriguing, wry musical exploration on matters of the heart. In the days where our deepest thoughts and feelings are shared via instant message, minimalist poetry put to sounds that don’t scrimp seems appropriate. Or at least E. E. Cummings would be proud. Whether your Dairy Queen love ended one brownie short of a blizzard, or one text short of your cell phone minute plan, or if it’s all iPhones and moonbeams, there is something for the forlorn and the blissfully infatuated here.

“Arm’s Length,“ the first track, is like wandering into a musical high rise, creating a convicting tower of sound around you with each floor you climb, or with each drawing beat. The song builds in its goodness until the loud break out at the end devastates the structure while still leaving hopes of reconstruction. The prose is relatable and points the finger in both directions: “I let you down when I said I’d hold you up…you put me down when you said you’d pick me.”

The Teenage Fanclub-ish “Matchbook” brings back happy Brit power pop memories from the nineties. Clever lines -“It’s too late to move back to a frozen state of mind”- riddle grungy guitar and harmonies alongside driving drumbeats hold the attention. And, staying in “Angle Terre,” maybe a fresh listen of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is required, but shades of “Lucy in The Sky with Diamonds” outline the melancholy, trippy “Ghost.”

Another standout is the sweet, slow almost epithet “Cold Dark Moon.” With sparse remarks on a ship (your own “love boat”) being overtaken, of steam running out, dusky voices lull and guitar like small waves lapping the side of a boat create a lullaby effect. Uncertainty leads the listener into darker waters.

In a similar vein, “Pining” is a great, simple song. Quiet with a spacey ambiance and otherworldly vibrations, fluted notes are lovely juxtaposed with strummed guitar. The restless, unsure heart of a lover is smartly played against the title using tree imagery: “searching for something you thought I could be. A leaf on the ground, a knot on the tree.”

“Lungs,“ in keeping, is an excellent denouement. The words could stand alone: “I’m a martyr for you. With my hands I will construct you. With my might I will protect you. I’ll build the walls. I’ll lay the floors and hang the doors. I will call you home.” The invincible feeling that being in love will carry you through any trial, the belief that you can make it better for someone, can be their answer, is heard here. It takes its time to announce its purpose, and the optimism is felt with high pitched promises and confident snare and, once again, mood defining guitar.

We have found ourselves in an era where things are divided into minutes and megabytes, but our hearts in the 2000s, as Papermoons subtly encourage here, still beat the same. Shakespearean sonnets, ribbon bound romantic missals, even Coldplay albums- they all have their place in the world of romance. Love is what’s in question. Standing out from the crowd of indie rock offerings in a timely fashion, No love, an identifiable, musically rich elixir for the weary and the hopeful, could remind you of some answers.

-Holly Etchison, October 15, 2013

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