It isn’t often that I can’t compare bands to other bands, and say “Oh yeah, they sound like so and so”. Whenever I can’t do that, I know I’ve stumbled on a band that has a new and exciting way of looking at how they do music. Paper Route is one of those bands. Immediate comparisons may draw some to MuteMath, but this four-piece out of Nashville, Tennessee proves they have much more in the pot than sounding like other bands. I’ve had a hard time coming up with this review (I wanted to have it done a month ago) and for the first time, I can say I don’t know why these guys are so good. Indie-pop mixed with rock/electronica sounds makes for an interesting ride, and Paper Route proves they can shine through all of it.
The band released three EPs in the past three years or so, and Absence is their first major label debut, distributed by Universal Motown Records. Songs like the opener “Enemy Among Us” and “Wish” showcase light piano rock with solid guitars that seem to send you into another world, reminiscent of Coldplay’s last venture Viva La Vida, while the lead single “Carousel” is a perfect blend of indie rock and electronic sounds, giving way to what the band is already quite known for. “Tiger Teeth” is another satisfying tune, with drums prominent all the way through and high vocals that compliment the rest of the song. It also isn’t often that I can’t find the words to express how excited a band makes me. Paper Route is just one of those bands you just can’t get out of your head.
While the first half of the album seems to show how the band can write what will likely sell, the second half of the 12-track album is just a plethora of melodies, sounds, and downright awesomeness. “Last Time” continues the journey, leading into “No Sudden Revelations”, a slow, melancholy track with haunting vocals in the back and keyboard sounds flooding your ears, it’s enough to lull you to sleep, in a good way of course. “Are We All Forgotten” was featured on their EP of the same name last year, but still gives a great listening experience here, especially for those who didn’t pick up the EP. What Paper Route has seemed to do is take something so simplistic, like the indie rock scene, injected what they love about electronica into it, and out comes what started as just jamming sessions and experiments in a basement under a bed a few years ago. Absence is sure to become one of the stand out albums of 2009.
Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5