Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Album review: Calhoun’s Paperweight reveals a new, unfamiliar sound
The 6-song EP steps into a world of dance-pop, far from the band's warm, folk roots.
FORT WORTH From the first pound of the synthesizer on Calhoun’s Paperweight, it’s clear this is not the rootsy, singer/songwriter band of the past few years. Eighties-style synthesizers and vaporous vocals take over the lighthearted tracks, putting more focus on the harmonies than the compilations. The Fort Worth group made it a point to turn their style on its head: Their current bio states, “Armed now with analog synths and arpeggiator triggers, the band has set out to distance itself as far as possible from its previous efforts.”
Opening track “Fatal Flaws” sets this new stage without hesitation, diving headfirst with a dance-worthy beat and Brit-pop tones much like another local band, Air Review. Although the lineup has changed a bit -- they added The Ticket’s Danny Balis on bass/vocals and Josh Hoover on drums -- original front man Tim Locke’s pillowed vocals remain relevant despite the latest interpretation. Whether leading a dusty folk number or a chic pop track, Locke delivers with confidence.
Out of the six songs on the EP, “Reap/Sow” rises above the rest with a subtle coolness and skipping strings. The drastic transition from previous works is felt in every track, reflecting their “no looking back” state of mind. Although gracefully done, the new face of this local five-piece doesn’t suit them as well as their past life. “Don’t Look Strange” is more a hushed lullaby than a softer electro number. The feathery “ahhs” floating in the background diverted our attention, making it feel like a slow dance at a high school prom.
It isn’t to say the musicality isn’t enjoyable. But it plays like an identity crisis, with the laser beats and punchy tempos taking a step in a distracting, erratic direction.