Thursday, March 22, 2012

Paper Beat Scissors - Paper Beat Scissors

Paper Beat Scissors

Paper Beat Scissors
Forward Music Group.

SCQ Rating: 74%

It’s rare to hear an act entering Canada’s cliquey music scene in such fine company, especially when the principal songwriter boasts an accent that comes from neither our Pacific nor Atlantic coast. Despite spending his first quarter-century in England, Tim Crabtree’s debut full-length boasts contributions from a variety of Canadian indie-rock alumni, including Pietro Amato and Mike Feuerstack (of Bell Orchestre), Sebastian Chow (Islands) and Jeremy Gara (Arcade Fire). Handy chaps to have around, no doubt, but none of their invaluable input dissuades Paper Beat Scissors from being foremost a noteworthy showcase of Crabtree’s songwriting verve.

The emotional urgency at play over these eleven songs isn’t only ripe for the first-time listener; it’s rooted foremost in Crabtree’s guitar and vocal prowess. The balladry of “Rest Your Bones” calls to mind the raw fringes with which Damien Rice once danced, whereas on “Be Patient” Crabtree lilts above the measured rhythms without settling for complacency. Behind his voice, which wavers between unrestrained and careful approaches to the confessional, lush rock atmospheres breath melodic touches into “Ends In Themselves” and “Watch Me Go”. These symphonic additions iron out some of Crabtree’s grueling intensity, making for a more dynamic and listenable record even if its source material circles the same well too often. That argument could be made in reference to “Keening”, where Crabtree and the terse instrumental build backing him almost sound competitive as opposed to complimentary. There’s more than enough catharsis to go around on Paper Beat Scissors but its potency will certainly win more fans than it’ll lose.

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