Carefree and happy, that’s the two adjectives that came to mind after listening to Paper Lions and their Trophies EP. At a mere 16 minutes, it’s six (6) songs of happiness and peppiness.
The perky guitar work goes from a very friendly sort of bubbly pop (‘Hands’ – the catchy opener), a very indie chuggy strumming (‘Stay here for a while) and then to a very 70s rock, the headbanging ‘Sweat it out’.
There’s quite a few comparisons to The Shins in both reviews and PR documents, but if you were to ask me (and pointed a gun at me, I dislike comparisons), I’d say they are like a breezier version of Sloan (an underrated band, if ya ask me…)
Like previously said in this very review, ‘Hands’ is very catchy and feels poppier than it really is. The guitar tone is thick and rich and it’s hard to frown at it. Before you even think about putting them in the “pop” section, the band does throw a curveball with ‘Lost the war’, a rockier piece that, again, is hooky (catchy riff + tambourine = winning formula).
‘Sweat it out’ is like being back in ’96, driving a beat up Ford Maverick on a Friday night. You’ve flunked Organic Chemistry and have enough money to buy fries and waste a few fools in Mortal Kombat. That’s the spirit of the song. Freedom versus a crap reality creeping by.
But, you know, stiff upper lip. ‘Don’t touch that dial’ keeps your spirits high. Yeah, you still need to re-sit a crap of exams (damn you, Ms. Balestra) but, ah, you know, life. Then you pass the exams and it’s time to just sit on the grass and watch at clouds fly by while listening to a song blasting from the beat-up Mav: ‘Stay here for a while’. Yeah, “it feels good” indeed!
‘Trouble’ starts with a mean drum beat and a sober piano line that is interrupted by a guitar from time to time. You realise that the good times do end up, but no regrets is the way forward.
So, in closing, Paper Lions is like the good and bad memories of High School, all packed up in 16 minutes of a rockier shade of pop called Trophies.And I agree : “hey, trouble! GET OUT OF MY CAAAAR!”. Booyah!
Words: Sam (I never had a Maverick and that’s a damn shame).
Ps: (why do I keep going into these rants instead of reviewing?)