sat 04/12/2021

CD: Papercuts – Life Among the Savages | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Papercuts – Life Among the Savages

CD: Papercuts – Life Among the Savages

Striking fifth album from San Francisco’s master of the downbeat

Papercuts' 'Life Among the Savages': the sound of outside looking in

Although the trademark aqueous shimmer is still recognisable on Life Among the Savages, the sound of San Francisco’s Papercuts has changed since 2011’s Fading Parade. On his fifth album as Papercuts, Jason Quever has kept arrangements more sparse than ever yet everything has a distance. His world appears to be one of permanent dusk, when melancholy is inescapable. Life Among the Savages is the sound of outside looking in.

The song titles lay it out: “Still Knocking at the Door”, “New Body”, “Staring at the Bright Lights”, “Afterlife Blues”, “Tourist”. Quever’s sense of isolation brings to this fantastic album a downbeat atmosphere tempered by his flair for melodies which linger. His defeated voice delivers songs with the baroque-pop classicism of The Left Banke, Da Capo-era Love, The Young Marble Giants and The Chills. “Psychic Friends” makes it specific with nods to Echo & the Bunnymen’s “Seven Seas”. The brushed drums, upright piano, strings and colour from sitar and slabs of fuzz guitar coalesce as a narcotic whole. In effect, this is Quever’s counterpart to the Bunnymen’s landmark Ocean Rain.

Life Among the Savages arrives 10 years on from his debut, Mockingbird. This beautiful new album emphasises that a decade on Quever has evolved into one of today’s most striking mood musicians.

Visit Kieron Tyler’s blog

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