it’s a deep burn blue
The Paper Kites - On The Corner Where You Live (2018 ALBUM) written by Brendan Lewis 20/09/2018.
The album greets me with the distant sound of a train passing, before crisp, gentle droplets of chord movements on the piano patter down in the short and sweet opening track, ‘A Gathering On 57th’. The smooth piano as the train passes soften and warms the palate just enough, to be the bed beneath the evocative and exotic horns, that glide in and out of the gentle rain-drops of piano chords, progressing, swirling, then finishing on a somber-hearted minor-tone at the close.
Already, I feel like I’ve melted into a calming dream-state, sitting back on a verandah while rain softly falls in the late afternoon, as I indulge in a fine glass of warm delicate whiskey (Irish, well aged, to be exact).
‘Give Me Your Fire, Give Me Your Rain’ follows, and strides forward with a confident and decisive ‘1, 2-and, 4’ pattern drum pulse. I’m then illuminated with a wide-open non-abrasive blast of horns, like the setting sun bursting from amidst an afternoon rain, filling me with a gentle and deep warmth. The warmth from the horns swirls around a guiding rhythmic wave of guitar and bass, resting comfortably beneath delicate, melodically exquisite vocals of clear sophistication and musical maturity. As the song elegantly flows, the centrepiece horns, dance around the exquisite vocals, both rhythmic and melodic, adding the key flavour to the fine blend this song is.
After being drawn deeper within the deep satisfying relaxation that has been exhibited so far, the album’s first single ‘Deep Burn Blue’ and ‘Mess We Made’ fill me up with more exquisite flavour blends. In ‘Deep Burn Blue’, the main musical focus is the swirling retro synth layer, like the vanilla tone of a sweet rich whisky, swirling and welcoming the other unique blends that follow. Such as, the crisp spice of the melodic guitar riffs that speaks as loud as the urgent, honest, deep vocals, adding a beautiful musical voice to the blend with vocal harmonies that echo back to the singer in the verses, and a light addition in the choruses. This sits neatly behind the singer to further add to the depth and flavour of the song. Now onto ‘Mess We Made’. Soft delicate vocals hover above plucking guitar, like the nectar of a whisky as the glass around it, in this case the guitar, nurtures and completes the taste (yes, the right whisky glass can define a whisky’s tone btw). The swift plucking and dual calling harmonious vocals in chorus, reach out and hold you tight in joyful content, then maintain duality in second verse, yet lower in intensity. The beat elevates to a more steady rocking, swaying, danceable beat to push you back and forth in a hammock, to the soft breeze of vocals, with cool synth and graduating guitar plucking rhythmic melodies.
The next two serves of musical delicacy, are the brighter ray ‘Flashes’ and my personal favourite, ‘Red Light’. ‘Flashes’ brings a more stripped away energy, with raw unaltered guitar rhythm flows, like a soft warm glowing sunset, with a soft breeze of delicate vocals that glide elegantly above it. As the warmth and beauty melts your heart, the vocals soar gently in the chorus as echo effect and electric sound accompanies the guitar to add filling to the sound, and emphasise potent vocal intent. To complete this atmospheric sound, the warm seductive steady vocal melodies, softly carries the chorus out and away. ‘Red Light’ jump-starts the heart with a ‘1, 2-and’ timed beat that pulsates the mellow tone, with a guitar melody that goes straight to my soul and resonates in a beautiful collaboration of major and minor synchronicity, filling me with an intoxicating essence. Instead of the music perfectly complementing the vocals, I feel the soft heated vocals perfectly complement the guitar swirls, and wicks away any lingering tension. At the songs’ end, the guitar elevates to an echoing electric major-tone bright solo embrace, to end the hypnotic feelings on a high.
WAKE UP FROM THAT COMA! A fast tempo racing beat in ‘On The Corner Where You Live’ pushes a retro sounding echoing guitar riff, with reverb being its only effect. The guitar sings in riff form after first verse, with the vocals raising excitement and drawing you in, in the verse and wraps its arms around you and holds you tight in the seductive and sensual chorus. I find this is a perfect example of how a chord progression can set the feeling of the song, you might not notice it, but without it, the songs thought wouldn’t be as intended.
A nostalgic reminiscent sound even before the calming and reassuring vocals enter in ‘Midtown Waitress’, now steadily floats the energy back to that sweet spot. All sounds work hand in hand with the exquisite vocal beauty, to send me into a deep relaxation, yet keeps me wide awake and full of joy. The song stays fairly constant throughout, as to not break the fragile hold on your soul, then ends with the smooth sound of soft rain fall and horn twirls. A perfect symmetry of the albums’ opening track to close the album poetically...
Wait, hang on! There’s still three more songs?
The album finishes with the mid-tempo ‘When It Hurts You’, ‘Does It Ever Cross Your Mind’ and finally, ‘Don’t Keep Driving’, finishing the album on a more urgent, pleading anguish vibe.
The mid tempo marching beat in ‘When It Hurts You’ along with bass filling the beats between, gives a more positive uplifting energy, to lift you out of that deep relaxation you fell into previously, yet still keeps a steady hold and sense of consistency tying together the moving vocal calls, and taking you out to dance to the alluring beat…. oh that’s just me while I type. ‘Does It Ever Cross Your Mind’ reawakens a soothing light, delicate piano movement, that follows the loving, gentle, full hearted vocals with a light horns harmony layer in the background, filling the breathtaking space around the sweet sensational sound. And finally, ‘Don’t Keep Driving’ ends this decadent hypnotic dream with a pleading urgency to the slow driving beat. The light synth layer is like soft sobs behind the aching 7nth’s piano chords in the chorus, and shooting guitar riffs, calling out in echo over the somber deep honest vocals. Nearing the final descent, the song builds up in layers with brighter sharper guitar riffs to urge you back home and slowly fade away
Wow! This album is one to truly appreciate and enjoy in its entirety! I found that most of the vocals I couldn’t decipher with their soft gentle melodies, amidst the technical highly involved musicality, except the main more-powerful key vocals, but all the sound conjoined, were exquisite! This is an album that I will definitely be getting on vinyl, pouring a glass of finely aged whisky, and relaxing on my massage recliner, absolute bliss!
Check out the podcast interview between Brendan the blind guy and The Paper Kites’ guitarist Dave leading up to the albums’ release here.