Evolution and change through albums is something that we either revere or dismiss artists for.
C.W Stoneking’s Gon’ Boogaloo – revere
With The Paper Kites twelvefour, we revere. We clap, we give the silent nod and we immerse ourselves in a delicate sound that resolves sunny afternoons with friends and late night drives to find the answers to this thing called life.
twelvefour begins with lead single “Electric Indigo”. This is a track that sets forth a building drum kick and echoed guitar lick like something from a John Hughes prom scene. Youth and breeze puts the fight into the song through the perfect harmonies built between singers Sam Bentley and Christina Lacy.
The theme of searching in life and identity is one that runs clear throughout the album seen through lyrics such as;
- ‘Cuz I’m a part of the world that I live in now / Only set apart from the world that I live in now’
- ‘I’m lying to you ‘cuz I’m lost’ ‘
- And I know I left you questions and a lonely heart / But you’ve been waiting long enough to let it go’
This theme is not surprising considering that the concept behind twelvefour is the mysterious yet exonerating time frame between 12 and 4AM. During the album’s writing period, The Paper Kites would write as soon as the clock ticked over to midnight, working from the idea that this four hour gap is when the peak of artistic creativity occurs because the brain is too tired to overanalyse our primal human thoughts. Tracks like “Revelator Eyes” are a true stand-out of this concept with its reverb and building composition depicting the tug of war between love and reason, before surrendering to the 4AM solution of love.
Recorded with Phil Ek in Seattle, The Paper Kites twelvefour has definitely shown a shift toward a fuller sound. Ek has worked on fuller-folk sounds with Father John Misty, Fleet Foxes and Manchester Orchestra and so had the capability of still retaining the folk sounds from their earlier works on tracks like “Renegade” and “Neon Crimson” whilst pushing twelvefour to something more.
It is the consolidation of rock’n’roll electric guitar hooks, larger sounding drum bars and refined lyrics that has made twelvefour a move into a completely different yet understandable direction.
Whilst a song like “Revelator Eyes” is so different to their earlier work on “Bloom”, it is still The Paper Kites but as a trajectory of their work as artists, not just as popular musicians.
Upon first listening, twelvefour can be likened to Death Cab For Cutie’s Plans. This is mainly due to the structure of the album which is the overall bigger sound, the positive and fire-burner starter “Electric Indigo”, the drawn out and formless end track “Too Late” and bare-boned folk middle tracks “Bleed Confusion” and “Neon Crimson”. Later research revealed that the album was partially recorded in Chris Walla’s studio Hall of Justice.
Not one to write according to genres, with Bentley stating, ‘We are whatever we released on the last record’, twelvefour is a work resulting in its writing concept, its producer and recording contexts. It reveals a growth from The Paper Kites as stripped-back indie-folk darlings toward a healthy combination of electrified songwriters and performers.
Graduates with streaming neon lights from this year in Australian music, The Paper Kites and twelvefour has got those late night/early morning thoughts down to a tee in soundscapes that make you itch for all those raw feels all over again.
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
Latest release: twelvefour (Aug. 28th via Sony Music)
Sounds like: Death Cab For Cutie, City & Colour, Band of Horses
Say what? A series of music videos will be released for the album featuring different characters in different towns all between 12 and 4AM.