There’s a sense of restlessness and frustration in Paws‘ new release, their third studio album. The Scottish trio, aka Phil, Josh and Ryan, seem like a band for our times, with their catchy, crunchy pop-punk.Produced by Blink 182 producer Mark Hoppus, No Grace sits somewhere between early Idlewild and Sonic Youth at their most poppy- this is not a bad thing, especially at this time of the year, when motivation is required.
Gild the Lily may bring back that old NME term for guitars- buzzsaw. Asthmatic explodes into crashing drums. But there’s something endearing about how Scottish they sound- not in a Biffy/Proclaimers way- they are a little too subtle for that. There are no absurd proclamations of walking for miles, or being a metaphorical mountain, here.It’s more about their way with a harmony, and the old loud/quiet dynamic. Not so much a fist pump, as a firm handshake.
Rifftastic songs like Gone so Long and Empire State are anthemic- seemingly ready-made for crowd-surfing during a muddy Summer festival season. Above all, though, there is more to Paws than sheer rama-lama shout-alongs down the mosh pit- a strong sense of reflection. Clarity stares up close and personal at death, a catchy little memento mori. Impermanent is steeped in nihilism, with the gentle reminder that all cannot last. And there’s good advice from the title track: “Don’t get attached to the things you don’t need”.Quite.
No Grace is out now on FatCat Records.
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