Are These the Questions That We Need to Ask?

Are These the Questions That We Need to Ask?

by Paperhaus

CD(Jewel Case)

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Are These the Questions That We Need to Ask?

Paperhaus were well established in their base of Washington, D.C. before offering up their full-length debut in 2015 after nearly a decade together. Two years later, their follow-up and Misra Records debut features a rejiggered lineup, with frontman Alex Tebeleff the only remaining founding member. Instead of resulting in a redesign, the album maintains the band's penchant for weaving a myriad of influences -- psychedelia, Krautrock, hard rock, and post-punk for starters -- into a sound of their own. Hard to contextualize but easy to process, Are These the Questions That We Need to Ask? also mixes a loose, trippy spirit with a proggy studio demeanor, both somehow wrangled into a sound that's artful without being arty. "Go Cozy," for instance, draws heavily on the '80s Britain of Talk Talk, with hazy guitars and period synth timbres over a particularly muscular bassline. Its seven-minute running time includes a long, transformative instrumental break that moves from atmospheric to borderline jammy as the song considers two different outlooks ("Can you remember?/Slow scan the pictures"). The more theatrical, Krautrock-influenced "Walk Through the Woods" relies on guitar distortion, spooky keys, saxophone, and polyrhythms that include relentless double-time bass and offset cymbal. While noisy and unsettling, it's ultimately melodic and even danceable. Elsewhere, more straightforward tunes include the three-and-a-half-minute "It's Not There" and -- in another seeming contradiction -- the hyper yet dreamy "Needle Song." When the album closes with 30 seconds of waves crashing on the shore, it's as if to reestablish some perspective after a larger-than-life set of tunes.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/06/2017
Label: Misra Records
UPC: 0665570983704
catalogNumber: 97
Rank: 216472

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