Monday, 9 April 2012

Review: Paper Beat Scissors

Paper Beat Scissors - S/T (Forward Music Group)
Listening to Paper Beat Scissors for the first time, I thought I caught a little something that reminded me of fellow Canadians, The Weakerthans, or perhaps it was just wishful thinking. When I listened for a second time I realised how raw many of these tracks are, and how haunting Tim Crabtree’s voice is. He is Paper Beat Scissors, with a multitude of contributors on most of the tracks, ranging from neat guitar licks from Mike Feuerstack on "Folds", to full blown brass on "Rest Your Bones".

His voice is as tense as come of the playing. He really does mean his words, and sometimes strains hard, the instrumentation seeming to warp to stay connected, but neither are constant, both occur in short passages within a track. For instance, "Forgotten" has just such a part in amongst the more typical, but still emotional, delivery, whereas "Once" hardly has anything approaching tautness in the voice, or in the music, as it follows a less highly charged path, with gentle brass accompaniment that helps make this one of the highlights of the album, although I can’t bring myself to reject any of it.

It really is first rate, an emotionally charged album, even when the pace doth slacken. Without ever losing the honesty of the approach that Tim so obviously wants, and demands, from everyone, these songs are replete, whether gentle or with tension. He is the heart and soul of all things here, and with luck you’ll get to hear it. If you do, you’ll be stirred for life.
Kev A.

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