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Music Review: The Paper Chase – Someday This Could All Be Yours, Volume 1

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With wavering vocals and off-kilter anthems of human disaster, The Paper Chase manages to dodge affectation and bluster in favor of a broadly organic set of songs with Someday This Could All Be Yours Volume 1.

This, the Dallas-based act’s fifth full-length, powerfully unpacks tunes about characters and situations with anthemic dedication. Interestingly, The Paper Chase also demonstrates just how sincere impropriety can stave off excessively pompous ramblings. In keeping their honesty about them, they manage to turn out one of the more compelling records of the year thus far.

Led by John Congleton and formed in 1998, The Paper Chase have crafted Someday This Could All Be Yours, Volume 1 as the first part of two volumes about natural disasters and how humans anxiously try to survive elements far beyond control. The second volume is set for an early 2010 release.

The record also introduces drummer Jason Garner in his recorded debut with the band. His presence adds a punctuated underpinning to each number, driving the songs with his strong sense of timing and creativity. Bobby Weaver’s bass and Sean Kirkpatrick’s keys join Congleton’s guitars and programming to create a critical, bold sense of sound.

The real quality of Someday This Could All Be Yours, Volume 1 comes with the utter defiance of song construction. Congleton has concocted a session of deconstruction as he boldly turns the dynamics around. He builds compositions with pointed wails of resonance, only to have them ascend (or is it descend?) into something that sounds almost “normal.”

Beginning with a large-scale cinematic sense, “If Nobody Moves Nobody Will Get Hurt (The Extinction)” draws us in to Congleton’s vision with big strings, hammering drums, and unsteady, gorgeously tentative vocals.

The entire record unfolds like a disaster movie, transitioning from scene to scene with graceful segues and repellent sounds. Wrong notes are punched on purpose, adding haunting stability to the album’s sense of disaster. Strong, askew strings scatter through the verses of “I’m Going to Heaven With or Without You (The Forest Fire),” while an eccentric, joyful chorus accents “This Is A Rape (The Flood).”

Someday This Could All Be Yours, Volume 1 manages to be ambitious without seeming too large. The Paper Chase gleefully steps around the pitfalls of self-importance, choosing instead to supply an utterly human, utterly poignant set of songs with a vigorous spell of blemished brightness.

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