Scottish trio PAWS are touring like crazy with a number of UK shows started in Leeds on 26th May, and amongst these shows the band will also release their energetic and emotionally driven album Youth Culture Forever on 2nd June. The album was recorded in Upstate New York for FatCat Records, and though maintaining the same dreary vocals throughout it certainly grabs your attention back with kicky jams and dreamy melodies.
An overall lack of clarity in vocals offer a sense of realism and depth of emotion, spurning any kind of forced perfection. This may take its toll on some listeners, particularly on ‘Someone New’ where the vocals lack appropriate melodic rounding and sit uncomfortably on top of an aggressive drumbeat. However, overall it brings the band down to earth and lends feelings of relativity between PAWS and the listener from the aggressive and noisy vocals to those that are light and fleeting.
Though there is not a lot of variation in the vocals throughout the album, the biggest distinction between each song comes through the music. The upbeat and instant indie feel good song ‘Tongues’ relies heavily on the joyful riffs and summery vibe to set the mood. This echoes throughout Youth Culture Forever and if it’s not a catchy hook that gets you, it’s the dark and moody surge of instrumentals in ‘Great Bear’ and ‘War Cry’. The first is a gnarly guitar driven piece with different riffs developing here there and everywhere and comes across as a showcase of pure guitar genius. This is followed by a slow, swaying number – ‘YCF’ – that demands you sit, listen and calm down after the marvelous mayhem before it. However a lack of movement in the song can leave the mind to wander on to other things.
This is where final track ‘War Cry’ comes in to save the day. Though still slow paced at first, there is an engagingly dark tone with Nirvana-esque vocals entertained by a delightful grind of guitars and an intensely satisfying bass-line. This finale progresses further into a deeply captivating instrumental that kicks off with quite literally a scream, bringing the album up to scratch with a striking energy that can only be described as pure unadulterated sex.