S#@t You Should’ve Heard Before: Papermaps

Damn you, Mitch Fillion, and your awesome Southern Souls website! You find the best bands before I even have seen them more than once or twice!

In case you’re wondering, this is one of those bands: Papermaps. I’ve almost accidentally stumbled onto a copy of their album, and I’m nothing less than impressed. A little bit rock and roll, a little bit indie, a little bit poppy, the album manages to sound incredibly professional and unique at the same time. It’s polished, but not too much so. Friggin’ well done, in other words.

Papermaps are a tough band to talk about, genre-wise. The best descriptor I can think of is ‘accessible,’ actually. They’re excellent musicians, but they don’t make it too hard to get to the meat of what they’re trying to say with that instrumentation. That’s tough; a lot of jazz guys go their entire careers without learning that lesson.

They veer from indie-dance-pop, reminiscent of acts such as Tokyo Police Club and Phoenix, to more mellow and melodramatic material–I’m looking at you, tracks 7 & 8–slower, but almost always with that driving piano in a way that honestly reminds me of a group like Coldplay, or some of those English radio-pop groups that crop up and disappear, Snow Patrol, Interpol, whoever the Hell. But once again, it’s always friggin’ good. I mean no disrespect by comparing you to Coldplay, Papermaps. I just mean this is a great album, and it should be on a major label; there are millions of people that would love this, if they only got a chance to hear it.

I’m struggling with what to call this sound, though. Post-rock is more introspective, more jazzy, but alt-rock is harder. There’s a lot of space in music like this. And that makes it hard to classify. I think someone in the band used to listen to a lot of Genesis. Maybe that’s why I’m gonna go with pop. Pop is accessible; pop is precise. Pop also usually means quality.

And Papermaps are nothing if not quality.

Guitar’s all right, but you can’t make a living. You said it, brother.

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