On The Corner Where You Live

The Paper Kites

Nettwerk Records, 2018

http://thepaperkites.com.au

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/07/2019

Melbourne-based The Paper Kites released two albums in 2018: On The Train Ride Home and On The Corner Where You Live. Whereas On the Train Ride Home is a folk rock record that shares DNA with the act’s previous releases, Twelvefour and States, On The Corner… takes a rather different approach by embracing the sophisti-pop musical style.

The opening track “A Gathering on 57th” is an instrumental prelude with mellow piano and equally calming saxophone accompaniment, along with an urban atmosphere in the form of the background din of a train passing by. It sets the tone for the rest of the disc perfectly. Like this short piece of music, the rest of my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 On The Corner… is smooth and soulful, but on its own terms. The Paper Kites achieves this specific mood while still keeping in touch with their folk rock roots.

“Give Me Your Fire, Give Me Your Rain” and “Mess We Made” are the most sophisti-pop numbers on this record, bringing to mind outfits like Roxy Music and The Blue Nile. The similarities between these tracks and the aforementioned darlings of this genre go beyond the crooning vocals of chief singer-songwriter Sam Bentley. In the case of “Mess We Made,” which is the only cut fronted by a female vocalist (fellow band member Christina Lacy), the beautiful musical arrangement consists of a delicate balance between guitars and synthesizers. The songwriting and composition are also worthy of comparison because of the high caliber of each.

Beyond this, the rest of On The Corner… has a more guitar-oriented sound, within which the group creates their original brand of sophisti-pop music while consistently maintaining a high bar in all aspects. With their steady galloping rhythms and melodious, laidback guitars, “When It Hurts You” and “On the Corner Where You Live” create sophisti-pop in a “heartland rock” way.

There is an unmistakable nod to The Blue Nile on this release with its calm nocturnal vibe. On numbers like “Deep Burn Blue” and “Don’t Keep Driving,” The Paper Kites sounds like their own guitar-based version of the band, with Bentley’s vocals delivering the similar aching melancholy of Blue Nile frontman Paul Buchanan. Folk rock and sophisti-pop don’t quite fit well in the same sentence. But in the case of On The Corner…, they not only do but prove to be a heavenly combination…when in the hands of the right band, of course.

Rating: B+

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