After four long years, Nashville indie rock trio Paper Route released their highly anticipated third studio album this past Friday, September 23. Comprised of vocalist/percussionist JT Daly, bassist/pianist Chad Howat, and most recent member Nick Aranda on guitar, Paper Route brings something completely new to the table with Real Emotion. The 16 track album is filled with a blend of fast paced, upbeat songs interspersed with softer, more mellow interludes. Between the haunting, atmospheric melodies, the band’s mastery of synth elements and distortion, and Daly’s vocals, ranging from a soft crooning to a high falsetto, each track on the album is fresh and unique, making the four year wait feel justified.
Real Emotion starts off with the ethereal, choir-like “Intro” before delving immediately into the high energy, almost spastic “Writing On The Wall,” a stark contrast to the previous track but perhaps a more accurate introduction to the rest of the album. The up-tempo pace continues with “Pretend” and “Chariots,” the second single that may sound familiar from the FIFA 17 official gameplay trailer. This is followed by the unexpectedly soothing “Untitled,” a haunting echo of the first track. One of my personal favorites, the song gradually builds up to a gorgeous crescendo that is certain to give you chills.
Although “Untitled” appears to be an anomaly on the first half of the record, that same soft, atmospheric quality is heard again in later tracks such as “Lara” and “Bleary.” The middle of the album contains more of the mid-tempo songs that are most likely to get stuck in your head. Among the catchiest on the album are the title track, “Mona Lisa,” “Zhivago,” and lead single “Laugh About It.” The final third of the album returns us to a sense of calm with some of the softer songs like “Balconies” and “Love Is Red (With Every Shade Of Blue).” Real Emotion finishes on a high note with “Vanisher,” a beautiful, slower song with a structure reminiscent of “Dance On Our Graves, the last track off their 2009 debut, Absence.
Related: Paper Route Announces US Tour
About the new record, Daly says, “The album title, Real Emotion, comes from a conversation I had with author David Dark about mental health. How it can be embarrassing when those closest to you witness the real you, and the struggle of balancing everyday life. How it might almost seem fake but it is very real. It’s a real emotion.” And that is exactly what this record represents, musically, lyrically, vocally, and even through the album artwork. Such as with life, Real Emotion is a predominantly fast, upbeat record, yet is also sometimes dark and somber. It is raw and vulnerable and honest, with music constructed perfectly to heighten the feelings elicited by the profound lyrics. The record is all over the place, encompassing our emotional highs and lows, yet somehow fits together to provide one unifying experience for the listener; Real Emotion shows us what it truly means to feel.
Must-Listen Tracks: “Chariots,” “Untitled,” “Mona Lisa,” and “Zhivago”
Purchase the new record on iTunes.
Listen to “Chariots” by Paper Route below:
Learn more about Paper Route: