I suppose reviewing something in many cases forces you to overcome your own pre-conceptions, or it didn’t it would be a rather fruitless enterprise. To be honest when I initially skim read the brief on this article I was expecting (hoping) for something bleak and desolate. It would have suited the low pace of this snowy week.
When I initially gave Paper Deer a listen it was while freezing to death on my bike and I almost denounced the whole lot as Europop in disgust…… I apologize.
Paper Deer are from Copenhagen and Budapest, I believe they began as a two piece later joining with a female vocalist. They describe their music as experimental, which is certainly demonstrated in the range of styles covered throughout the composition as a whole. I suppose the variety explored by the outfit leads to a rather fractured album, although do not take this as a negative point. Almost all, but a select few, gems remain clean of this taint; and the nostalgic ones that you hold onto most definitely deserve an honest re-listen. Paper Deer do push it out there and it is experimentation and the work of other DJs altering these compositions which leads to the evolution of the movement as a whole.
I suppose now that my insane rant is over I should perhaps turn to the music itself. It begins in an almost Balearic fashion with a touch of sparseness which is abruptly, and unfortunately, cut short. The track is primarily focused on the vocal which fits well and adds an almost ethereal edge at points.
Track two is a surprise, grimey vocal with a funky bouncy bassline. My only criticism is the complete reliance on the MC. I mean sometimes an MC can own a tune, take it to another level. Here however an extended instrumental break would have been welcome. It does, still, almost remind me of Kraak and Smaak’s bouncy moments, definitely had fun washing the dishes listening to this.
I’m not a big fan of the MC work in the next track at all although; it is certainly a personal preference and could envisage it raising many rafters pretty soon (It does have the banging tunes buzz by numbers thing down, it just rings a bit hollow to me, particularly when compared to the track which proceeded it)
The following tracks, although containing promising elements, fail to expand on them really. Both in essence beginning to build rather pleasantly only to go nowhere, much like walking up a steep hill only to find an Aldi which had closed a half hour before.
‘Dawn ‘: This one really sounded promising, I was rather disappointed. I think perhaps as a thirty year old fella I find it hard to connect to vocal led house, unless of course it is particularly amazing. I’m sure many will find plenty to love in this one I just couldn’t despite my many attempts.
Paper Planes opens with some minimal almost hallucinatory house/tehno. It unfortunately falls rather flaccid just prior to the emergence of the vocal which at points seems to jar unpleasantly discordantly with the rest of the piece.
The second from last track lifts things, although in a rather unexpected manner, it feels almost like you do at the cozy after party you nearly went home and missed. The warm 80s stylee synths make you feel warm and cozy and you could almost imagine what it would feel like to be a giant marsh mellow.
In summary I believe there is much to commend this album, there were some elements that didn’t appeal to me personally but I hope will delight others.
And if you do anything mad sick with that second track will you guys let me know, that should be a banger.