Paramore have left the business of misery behind on their latest album, instead coming over more cheery, yet something just is not quite right.
It has been a while since we last heard from the Tennessee alt-rockers and a lot has changed, the most hard-hitting of which was the exit of members Josh and Zac Farro, under a cloud of uncertainty.
Risen from the ashes
It could have been the end, but after a few singles, Hayley Williams & co are back with a full-length album. Paramore, the fourth release from the band, makes it seem like not much has changed at first, yet it quickly becomes apparent that this is not the Paramore we are used to.
Lead single Now kicks off in pounding fashion, William’s vocals blasting at full belt. It is a fast-paced four minutes, which is clearly Paramore at its roots. “If there’s a future we want it” sings Williams, showing that the band has risen from the ashes and are looking forward.
Looking to the future
If Now is the Paramore we know, then album opener Fast in my Car is what’s to come. It’s a cheery song, a change from perhaps pessmistic older tracks, yet it shows what the album is about, which is a sense of fun.
Daydreaming takes on a slower pace, instead focusing on a big chorus and showcasing Williams’s signature voice. Her powerhouse vocals have always been strong, but they feel even invigorated throughout this 17-track album.
Hint of Taylor Swift
When the Farro brothers left the band, they claimed it was simply an over-produced machine favouring Williams, and an outside perspective would admit that songs like Still Into You seem solely about her. It is almost like she is using material once considered for a solo outing. However, Still Into You is a standout song; it is poppy and catchy with just a hint of Taylor Swift, which, oddly, works.
Once considered ‘emo’ darlings, Paramore are now leaning more towards the pop genre, not that this is a negative, as they have evolved and shown they are able to adapt to current music trends.
One genre span too much
Throughout the album’s progression, some songs feel inconsistent; Holiday, for example, is a short interlude with a random folk tone that just feels out of place. Are Paramore to go all folk on the next album? Hopefully not. Hate To See Your Heart Break is also a low point, again breaking the flow of the record.
It is nice to have Paramore back, but do not come expecting them to pick up where they left off after Brand New Eyes, because that band is no more.
Expect a cheerful band, full of ambition and strong ideas of the future, just refrain from complaint if you’re left with a hollow feeling when all is said and done.
Best tracks to download: Now, Still Into You, Fast In My Car
Paramore is released on April 8.
Check out the video for ‘Now’ below