Monday, August 01, 2022

Paper Scissors Provide An Eclectic Masterpiece on latest album ‘John Lennon House Husband’

Maryland has, especially since the turn of the century, been quite the hotbed for new and exciting music. 

Whether it be the shoegaze of Beach House, the synth-driven punk of Future Islands or the classic pop-punk of Good Charlotte, there seems to be an endless stream of talent coming from the Old Line State. 

Paper Scissors seek to carry on that mantle as they bring some classic indie vibes on their new album ‘John Lennon House Husband’.  

As the album starts with ‘Opening Crawl’ you may be lulled into a false sense of security as the song focuses on the stream of consciousness style lyrics matched with ethereal female backing vocals and light instrumentation. It doesn’t last for long, however, as the pounding drums and matching guitar of ‘Dissociation Nation’ slam you awake. The second offering from the album highlights the futility of working for the vaunted American dream in the Covid age. “Cause I’m working from home now everything is fine” snarls lead vocalist Josh Davis, as he reflects on the fact he’s “Got a house, two cats and a mortgage and a car” in one of the finer angry odes to the guilt-ridden consciousness of a corporate man both untouched yet deeply affected by the trials and tribulations of recent years.  

‘Elevator (Sit/Beg)’ shows off Davis’ versatility as the acoustic guitars and husk vocals turn to quirky '90s alternative music for inspiration whilst ‘Roll It All Along’’ with its wailing guitar solos appears to be the Maryland native's attempt at Britpop.  

The emotive centerpiece of the album comes on ‘We Belong Together’ as the lullaby-esque song channels prime Radiohead to track the evergreen story of a storge that fits like a hand in glove. Followed up by a track that can best be described as prog-rock, the halfway point of the album ‘C’mon’, with its loose percussion intertwined within blasts of distorted guitars, finally nails home the point that Davis is an eclectic and talented musician.  

More of that same diversity is found on ‘Keep Yr Head On’ and ‘Autumn Sweater’, which by today's standards are some of the better album fillers you’ll hear. Particularly the latter, where mellow acoustic guitars and basslines to die for are soon interrupted by sharp strums and tapping drums in a song that sadly lasts only 83 seconds.  

‘Mid Credit Scene’ proves Davis to be a witty yet delicate lyricist. Calling Davis a singer wouldn’t be quite right, you never get the sense he is ever truly straining to hit a note, yet when he croons “I hope you stay sober / I’ll love you whatever” it’s hard not to get drawn in by his wispy yet earnest delivery of a notion so poignant.  

The penultimate track ‘Dissociation Hibernation’ is discombobulating in the fact it’s a reworking of the second track ‘Dissociation Nation’. The stripped-back second version is a poetic highlight of the repetitive nature of Covid lockdowns. Every day may have seemed different, but if you scratched below the surface you’d have found the same old routines and escapes that became lifesaving were in fact slowly driving us crazy in our own homes.  

Closer ‘This Is The End’ is musically, an uplifting song, yet it is one that is tinged with regret. “I wish I treated you better” states Davis, in his now familiar trademark fashion. However, anyone who gets to this stage of the album (which everyone should) will not be suffused by the same feeling.  ‘John Lennon House Husband’ is excellent from start to finish, each song has highs and lows but never are the peaks and troughs the same. The only downside – a more exciting and well-rounded album will be hard to find – but this album is worth it.  

James Ogden  

Image: Provided by artist

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