The Glasgow four piece have returned with their second album ‘No Grace’. Their brooding debut ‘Youth Culture Forever’ was littered with lyrical nuggets to define teenage angst and coming of age. This time round, it’s the music which is providing the youthful exuberance.
Opener ‘No Grace’, combines the bashed guitars of early Billy Bragg with infectious pop-punk and features the golden line “are you tired of being told that’s not good enough”. This musical notion of the rough with smooth is a constant throughout with ‘Clarity’ it’s finest exponent.
It’s furious pace and accessible vocals will bring memories of Green Day’s joyous beginnings flooding back, especially when the bassline takes centre stage. PAWS are not content with rehashing the past though and fire out a warped solo of such depravity it will have everyone from The Fall to QOTSA looking on in envy.
Occasionally, the clash of styles seen on ‘Clarity’ fade away and the album suffers. ‘Complete Contempt’ and ‘Gone So Long’ have their influences shining through too much for PAWS’ distinct style to shine through, and it should, it’s great.
‘Impermanent’ however, is pop-punk and nothing else. It works, because it’s one hell of anthem. In bleak times, to hear the words “Don’t believe their heart, just work hard and be hyperactive” brings hope. Furthermore, it delivers it bubble wrapped in pop music form which should transcend Radio X and emerge onto Radio 1 playlists.
‘Impermanent’ defines everything this album is about. Short, sharp and life affirming. ‘No Grace’ is no ‘Sgt Peppers’ or ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’. It is however, an album to define (or evoke memories of) that momentous summer after GSCES or going to university.
The carefree punk-pop is in equal parts juvenile and carefree. Good. It’s obnoxious and angry. Great. Now go buy it!