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Paper Rival


It’s good to see bands like Paper Rival come out; artistic alternative bands that remind people of 90’s rock legends like The Pixies and The Toadies that had cult followings. Paper Rival reminds me of those bands, but also of a more-recent band that never really made it on a major scale but had the potential to- Before Brail. Paper Rival uses a lot of accenting guitar just like Before Brail did, but they also use some unique sweeping riffs like Circa Survive did on their last record. When describing Paper Rival it’s largely indefinable, but the closest thing I could come up with is Death Cab for Cutie and Circa Survive’s half way point- kind of like folk-emo. On the band’s debut album, “Dialog” for Photo Finish Records, Paper Rival gets serious with some compelling subject matter- whether it’s a friend who committed murder (“Bluebird”) or the black sheep of the family (“The Family Ghost”), these guys aren’t one for singing crappy pop songs about nothing. “Dialog” is well-written and well performed. Singer Jake Rolleston is outstanding at the forefront, and has some great performances on the folksy “Cassandra” and especially on the aforementioned “Bluebird” and “The Family Ghost.” There are a few problems with “Dialog.” It has the ability to get slightly boring towards the end of the album, and when the guitars are up it can actually take away from Rolleston’s performance. Songs styled more in the fashion of Death Cab would suit these guys well. Nonetheless, Paper Rival is a very good band with a solid debut in “Dialog.” Expect these guys to get a type of cult following like a band like Built to Spill and expect them to do some solid things with that following. “Dialog” is worth checking out and at least three or four songs of the record are songs that you’ll want to listen to again.


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