Posted by: will | August 29, 2006

The Paper Chase…

The Paper Chase “Now You Are One Of Us” (Kill Rock Stars)

Buy it at Insound!

I would love to spend a few hours with John Congleton, lead man for The Paper Chase. He seems to be quite an enigma to say the least. He is a top indie producer who has worked with the likes of The Appleseed Cast, Explosions In The Sky and Single Frame. However, with his own band he comes across as an evil (crazy?) genious…the type that would not be well suited to work with other bands. The man has some serious demons lurking in his closet. Congleton’s ramblings touch on the poeticism of John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats while harboring the insanity of Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu. That’s certainly an impressive tightrope to walk for anybody.

The Paper Chase have returned with their fourth album, Now You Are One Of Us. If you are new to the band, their sound may come as a shock to the system at first. Congleton and his crew have created and perfected their own brand of creepy indie rock. Now You Are One Of Us is strangely the band’s most accessible release as it contains some downright catchy songs. The album starts off with a spooky spoken word track. These spooky interludes make several appearances throughout Now You Are One Of Us. “We Know Where You Sleep” is one of the more catchy songs the band has written. No matter that it contains lyrics like I don’t know about you/ But I am at peace, I know what it is that I must do/ I hope you are sitting down, dear/ Come hell or high water this sick world will know I was here. “You Will Never Take Me Alive” is another frightenly catchy track. The song is highlighted by some eerie strings. However, you’ll still find yourself singing along to the chorus of Do you know what it means to be doomed?/ Do you know what it means to be cursed?/ When the blue eyes are washing their mouths in the south/ You know hey’re hiding bodies north. Songs like “The Kids Will Grow Up To Be Assholes”, “Wait Until I Get My Hands On You” and You’re One Of Them, Aren’t You?” showcases the band’s more schizophrenic nature with angular guitars and jumpy piano lines. “At The End Of The Leash” is about as close as The Paper Chase will ever get to a ballad. Of course, you just have to ignore the disturbing lyrics.

On The Paper Chase’s latest effort, Now You Are One Of Us, the band has put to tape the truest representation of their sound. If I was in the horror movie business I would be beating down Congleton’s door to write the soundtrack to my movie. Insanity is only in the eye of the beholder. And frankly, I think Congleton is nuts! But, apparently, insanity makes for good art sometimes.

RIYL: Modest Mouse, Xiu Xiu, The Mountain Goats

Listen: The Paper Chase – We Know Where You Sleep (mp3)

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