Paws are set to release their second album, Youth Culture Forever, on June 2 via FatCat Records. The album saw the band decamp to a studio in the woods just outside New York to hone and expand on the sound that saw their debut Cokefloat! acclaimed by the likes of Pitchfork, BBC music and nominated for the Scottish Album of the Year Awards.
Recording at Adam Pierce’s (Mice Parade/ Swirlies) studio in the woods outside of New York City, Paws produced the album themselves in an attempt to strive for the sound that they had always imagined for the band. As Phillip Taylor from the band says: “It feels like everybody considers our debut LP to be lo-fi which really bothered us as we felt it was the complete opposite by comparison to our early releases”. He states that he wanted Youth Culture Forever to be: “…bigger and louder, softer and quieter” and to “…present the potential of our dynamic range more accurately than the first album”. This can be heard right from the album’s opener, Erreur Humaine which opens with Taylor playing a gentle, lilting guitar riff and ruminating on the end of a relationship with typical searing honesty before the full band explode into life, sounding heavier, fuller and darker than ever before.
Tongues is a happy go luck tune with its upbeat, summery sounds and those pleasant harmonies that add something, making it more of a sing-a-long song. Tongues combines the elements of Cokefloat! that made it such a thrilling debut; an expert use of dynamics, an anthemic chorus and painfully honest lyrics while incorporating an increased use of texture and expanded instrumentation.
Someone New is that angry infused song that everyone needs after a relationship break down. Someone New speaks about seeing your ex partner with someone new, “Do you wanna the truth?/Do you wanna know the truth?/I’d rather pack my bag and leave this town/Than risk the chance of seeing you around…with someone new/You’d promised me we’d be friends/No I never want to see you again…” It’s grungy, powerful and angst ridden. Someone New is the perfect song for when you’re having a bad day.
Owl Talons Clenching My Heart is a solemn track with grungy, distant sounding vocals. They’re droning yet this song is surprisingly comforting with its swooning guitar riffs and jagged bass line.
Give Up explodes with the lyrics, “Tired of acting like I don’t care/You know I care…”. Give Up is another brilliant punk rock song which you are instantly able to sing-a-long to and jump around like an idiot to if you so wish. It would make an excellent live track. This song will lift you out of your seat immediately – your feet can’t help but tap along.
Alone is the ballad of album, it’s entirely different from the previous tracks. It appears just before half way through breaking the album’s lovable yet slightly repetitive sound. It allows the album to breath and introduces a completely different side to this band. Alone shakes up your opinion of Paws – you thought they could just do grunge and punk rock but they have this surprisingly gentle side. The vocals on Alone are outstandingly beautiful – they’re raw, exposing true feeling behind the words.
The title track YCF is so blissful in comparison to the other songs on the album. It’s acoustic and sounds as if it’s been recorded in someone’s bedroom on a whim. The vocals are gravelly, gorgeous yet grungy. As the penultimate track for the record, it has the perfect blend of everything.
Paws Youth Culture Forever is to be released on June 2 on FatCat records.