PAWS! Mucking about on a roof, crazy kids.
PAWS! The exclamation mark is optional but the capitals aren’t. Funnily enough, like The Capitals they are one of the exception bands around here. Finally fully formed in Glasgow but grew up in Tain, I’ve decided to class them as a Highland act so they get full coverage like everyone else. Earlier in the year the boys got a record deal with Fat Cat Records, a mighty fine indie label with many great acts in their stable, and the result is Cokefloat! (exclamation mark not optional). Recorded on a boat in the Thames called The Lightship95 with the aid of large amounts of tea (rock and roll!) and uber-producer Rory “Brattwell” Attwell it’s a lo-fi pop rock record that brings to mind at various times Weezer and The Eels amongst others.
I say record, it’s a large collection of electrons sitting on my hard drive.
Cokefloat! Art from Jessica Penfold’s comic of the same name
Guess I’ll do that track by track thing then. More or less, won’t have loads to say about each track. Music is for listening not reading about. Said the music reviewer… There is quite a bit of variety over the 13 tracks of Cokefloat! Plenty of range pulled from the boys back catalogue. One consistency throughout is a slightly distorted effect on the vocals, possibly where I’m getting Eels from, and a garage type sound to the recording. Here’s what you get.
Proceedings open up with Catherine 1956. Emotional lyrics dealing with the loss of Phillip’s mum to cancer last year. It’s a lovely way to kick off proceedings and not melancholy in the least, though maybe a little lower than the others in tone singing wise. It’s actually got quite a hopeful message. This is followed up by Jellyfish, a full on rock tune. Solid guitar, bass and drums. Nothing overly complicated, good for jumping about to. The whole album kind of takes me back to the late 90’s and this track exemplifies that. Third track Homecoming is a mellower version of the same kind of era, bit more swaying than jumping.
Pony is proper lo-fi bar some pretty epic rock solos. Musically it’s actually one of the most interesting tracks on the album with some solid guitar and bass work. Lyrically, and I don’t have a lyric sheet or anything so if I’m wrong it’s my bad, it’s mocking spoiled rich girls. Great stuff. This relative mellowness is followed by full on punk rock Bloodline. Slightly screamy lyrics, wall of noise, jump around like an idiot. Everything gets a bit of a hammering.
I haven’t actually seen them live but I’ve seen a couple of vids and they’re a rather active band apparently. Can see this being one of the more active tracks. Someone could break something if they aren’t careful.
More of a pop rock feel to to Boregasm, bit of a breather after the last one. Very solid drums and a nice guitar hook about it. First single Sore Tummy sits solidly in the middle of the album. Solid rock tune, quite a strong Weezer vibe at times with….I don’t know if it’s called a hook when it’s drums but they stick out for me in this. It’s not a complicated beat in the least but I like it a lot for some reason. Some lovely guitar and bass too. They’re all very accomplished musicians through the whole thing. Definitely ready for the break that this will hopefully give them.
Get Bent is a full on break from everything else, like a bonus track that’s been stuck in the middle. A little bit spanish guitar at times, all acoustic (well there’s a synth or an organ in there). Xylophone, tamborine, the most Eels track on here but also nearly folk rock. Really good and totally unlike the other dozen tracks except for the distorted lyrics sound. They get back to what they’ll be known for with Tulip. Pop rock with ALMOST a whine to the lyrics and a solid bass line. Same can be said for Miss American Bookworm, though the emphasis is more on thrashy guitar and rolling drums. Heavy as anything towards the end. Bird Inside Birdcage, Ribcage Ins….something as the track name is cut off is back to being a bit more on the pop rocky side of things but has the same heavy kind of ending. Nothing compared to Winners Don’t Bleed though. You want punk? THIS IS PUNK. Full on noise, every instrument taking a pounding including the vocals which are almost entirely screamed in to the mic. If this was your alarm clock tune you’d be standing up before you were even awake.
And finally, Poor Old Christopher Robin. Heavy on the chorus’ but next to Get Bent the lightest track in between. And it has a lovely mellow ending to ease you out of the album.
SO the short version of the above is that you get a range of tunes from an almost folky acoustic number to full on punk rock noise. Most fall in between those extremes with some solid garage style pop rock that’s more rock than pop. The distorted vocal sound gives them an unique but kind of familiar sound. That sounds contradictory but what I mean is that you’ll recognise PAWS when you hear them but won’t wonder why the hell this is being played on 6 Music. That being the height of music as far as I’m concerned. In fact they may have been spun already and will be in session with Lauren Laverne on the 24th of October. Nice one. They’ll be touring for the album release, check local press for details. The album is out on the 8th of October and you can order various bundles here
And I whole heartedly recommend that you do, as it’s bloody good.