Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I'm drawing a bloodbath with or without you

Be afraid children. Be very afraid. The Paper Chase has released a new album, and it is indeed horrifying. When the band unleashed their last album on 6/06/06, it was clear that they meant business, and the cover art of a half naked body swinging from the rafters certainly rammed that point home. This was my introduction to the band. I was working at a record store, and everytime i walked past that cover photo, it called to me. so i broke down and bought it. "Now you Are One of Us" played through every speaker i owned and ran through my mind constantly. It was the sound of raw paranoia and maniacal misfortune. With song titles like "we know where you sleep" and "you're one of them, aren't you," and preciously perverse lyrics like "drop on all fours, get down, show me what you're good for," i was instantly intrigued and increasingly fascinated with this music in all it's gory noise and creep-show choruses.
In the three years that have passed, i have attempted to build my collection and increase my knowledge of this black diamond of a band, led by evil genius John Congleton, who spends his non-paper chase time producing albums for a varied list of musicians and composing halloween sound effects CD's. but sometime between then and now, Congleton and crew have pieced together an album of epic proportions that has effectively satisfied my lust for seriously frightening music.
"Someday This Could All Be Yours" is literally the soundtrack to the apocalypse. In ten tracks, the paper chase disect the end of the world in a series of natural disasters while simultaneously exploring the futility of our humble little human lives.
In the face of catastrophic destruction, we are helpless, Congleton argues, and i, for one, would agree. In "I'm going to heaven with or without you (the forest fire)," Congleton, in his sharp, abrasive voice shouts "that little house we made/gets gobbled up by flames." so much for the american dream. the house, the car, the family. all that means nothing when the fire rips through town. it's powerful stuff, but this band has the collective vision and musical talent to not only carry the theme, but amplify it beautifully. the guitars sound like sirens, the drums sound like heavy footsteps chasing you through an empty house and the perfectly timed samples and strings create a ramshackle symphony of found sounds and deep seeded despair.
But don't think this is just gloom and doom. This is sheer terror. The Paper Chase have a knack for somehow making music that truly feels the way it sounds. "Someday This Could All Be Yours" sounds like lightening. it sounds like a tornado, but it feels like fear and defiance. Congleton must have the mind of a screenwriter, because his albums follow a stotyline, from the false hope of an emergency broadcast recording in "What Should We Do With Your Body (The Lightening)," to the empty sound of a disconnected phone line on "Your Money or Your Life (The Comet)." We all know how this story will end. Congleton wants us to hear it in technicolor.
Congleton is the master of the horrifyingly mundane. Typical sounds become terrifying, the familiar is filled with fear. In our own little lives, "he's got the whole world in his hands" should bring comforting memories. In Congleton's hands, it's a painful reminder that whoever is holding this world could crush it at any moment.
This is why I love the Paper Chase. Their sound is sublime in it's raw emotion and unfiltered sense of dread. It's not the kind of music that makes you want to succumb to that fear, but to revel in every minute of it. The Paper Chase is consistently writing the music of the future, even if that future is one of tragedy and devestation. but no matter, i'll be singing all the way to Armageddon.


Josh said...

Great review for a great album and an amazing band.

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