| I don’t understand why there aren’t more two-people bands around. JamisonParker are certainly a successful band, and they don’t have a backup accordion player and a fourteenth bassist. Look at The Postal Service—Ben and Jimmy don’t even live in the same state and they’re making wonderful music. Not to mention Chris Carrabba and his ego (oops, I didn’t say that). Yet I suppose the fact that this is a musical minority just sets the standards that much higher, resulting in so much more quality and effort on the part of these bands. And with that… I give you Paperface.
Composed of Andrew Merritt on guitar and bass and his brother Chris taking care of the keyboards—they share vocal duties—Paperface has been cranking out charming, gorgeous mini-ballads since 2002. The Legend of Harley Knowles, scheduled for release on October 18th, is actually a re-release of a 2004 LP by the same name. What’s the difference? The original Legend was by a Paperface that included two members that have since quit: Roland on drums, backup vocals, and guitar; and Jacob on bass, backup vocals, and cello. In their absence, Andrew and Chris have covered splendidly and have figured out how to fit all the pieces together just right between the two of them.
While they may not venture very often or very far outside their subgenre of piano rock—a type that is intense and sometimes nonsensical to the point of being fanatical—Paperface excels at what they do within their little genrebubble. I really do think that’s part of the greatness of bands where the piano is a major part of the music. You get this genius, atypically-structured music with lines like “Bitch, quit talking or the scene’ll get ugly” set to gorgeous piano arpeggios. One of the only things I can think of that people wouldn’t enjoy about this album is that for the most part, Paperface’s songs don’t have a definite hook. With the nonconforming way the songs are written comes the risk that they might sound meandering within themselves and even from one song to the other… and I definitely think Paperface has fallen into that trap. So unless you have a favorite Legend song that you know backwards and forwards, it’s sometimes difficult to discern between tracks on the CD. And an album that seems to be one big, scary hour-give-or-take-a-few-minutes of folksy softcore does sound daunting, I’ll confess.
If two guys with a piano playing folksy softcore is your thing, though, or you’re willing to make it your thing for the sake of listening to some really great music, then this CD is definitely something I’d recommend spending your hard-earned lawn mowing money on. Or get a little more open-minded and at least listen to the Purevolume stream… you might just fall in love with The Legend of Harley Knowles.
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| THE LEGEND OF HARLEY KNOWLES
1) Mostly Love
<< 2) Company Soul >>
3) Loser's Game
4) A Long Time Ago
5) Good Times
6) Familiar Faces
8) Fired Up
9) Three Times A Week
12) One-Track Mind