Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Paper Champion - Self Titled CD Review

There is something definitively early 00’s sounding about this EP. Most likely it’s because this blend of radio rock and progressive tendencies was heavily explored by second tier rock acts during that time. Bands like Earshot, Boy Hits Car, and The Apex Theory tried their hardest to separate themselves from the then current radio rock pack by adding some progressive elements to their songs while keeping the basic, softer end of the range, nu-metal structure that was ever so popular in place. It worked in that the bands sounded different, but they never really caught on with the masses.

Paper Champion would have fit in more than perfectly with the aforementioned bands. Sporting a very unique vocal style that sounds like a mix of Boy Hits Car and Serj Tankian’s warbling approach, the music often takes a back seat to the unique and somewhat out there vocals. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but there are often passages where the music is doing something interesting and the vocal focus takes away from either the tenderness or ferociousness of the music.

Each song has, for the most part, created its own identity, with the exceptions being “This Mute Tide” and “Teeth” which are two songs that are a little too similar in nature for their own good. They share the same standard progressive rock structure and then, abruptly, come to an end. This repeated and very distinctive song ending technique on a five song EP really sticks out like a sore thumb. Also standing out is the song “Undone”, the slow indie rock inspired ballad on the EP. It’s actually a very pretty song complete with the perfectly added touch of female backing vocals. When it reaches its climax about 3/4 of the way through the song, it’s worth it. The build up, climax, and fade out are all executed wonderfully.

In the end, this is a very promising self released EP that shows a band trying to forge some new ground in the very stagnant realm of hard rock. The band may not sound completely fresh, but the amount of potential that is on display definitely is.

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