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Review: Paramore – Paramore (Album)

How does half the band leaving affect Paramore’s new album? Quite well actually. Read our full review of Paramore’s latest release here!

Band: Paramore
Release: Paramore (Album)
Release Date: 08/04/2013

From inception, the feeling of trying to hold it together has plagued Paramore’s new album. From founding members Zac and Josh Farro leaving, to the whopping 17 song track list, to even self-titling the album, “Car crash? What car crash?” comes to mind.

So now the remaining members fight for the future of the band. Trying their best to remain relevant and prove they are the same Paramore we know and love. The war is fought on three fronts. Combining defiant never say die angst filled songs, while stepping into new territory by pushing the boundaries of pop and rock and also delivering their trademark sound, but on steroids.

First single ‘Now‘ is testament to the no holds barred feel to the album. You’ve probably heard them play faster and more aggressive, but never this sincere. Speaking about the battle the band have faced against imploding, Paramore fire on all cylinders, sounding less bleeding heart more wide eyed preacher at a rally backed by the score to a summer blockbuster.

This new set is also free of the tug of war that plagued previous efforts. Constantly trying to please groups of people, as opposed to the band, instead this album has Hayley Williams undeniably front and centre.

With the faster more aggressive songs taken care of, Paramore are unafraid to indulge their poppier side. ‘Ain’t It Fun‘ would not work for most bands. It opens sounding like a b-side from Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad‘ album, but Hayley’s confidence sells the song. A groovier sound than ever before is taken to with gusto, punching her voice where necessary and going toe to toe with the gospel choir without breaking a sweat. Pulling this off without selling sex or faux abstinence sells the message of growing pains and helps it hit home harder.

Still Into You‘ wouldn’t sound out of place on a Katy Perry album. But for every step forward the song takes into Disney Channel territory, they never forget that they are predominately a rock band and Taylor York’s musicianship ensures the song remains grounded. Bringing us to the elephant in the room, do Paramore manage to fill the Farro shaped hole in the band? Well the whole drama of the band becoming Hayley and the Paramores has finally been resolved as the Taylor York and Jeremy Davis play their roles expertly. They do no more, or less than play their instruments well. There is no desperation to prove themselves as members of a rock band. They have full confidence in the bands abilities. They never slack and each song is taken a seriously as the last, giving even the more pop fuelled moments an edge.

Paramore moves like a well oiled machine. Blistering through the albums 17 song track list. Following the punkier moments, with deceptively sweet songs and grinding to an almost complete halt with a few of the albums slower moments. They pull this off with ease, allowing the album to flow and not feel disjointed. Pumping out ferocity that they struggled with on previous efforts, ‘Let The Flames Begin‘ a highlight from a previous album, gets it’s sequel with “Part II” Where the prequel sounded like Paramore reaching for new heights, “Part II” seems effortless, with a chorus that comes out of nowhere and doesn’t feel like such hard work. It’s a massive song, on an album full of massive songs.

Equally impressive is the tonal shifts. Sounding like Paramore one moment, then like Best Coast with a restraining order on the much too short ‘(One of Those) Crazy Girls‘. Infused with an orchestra without sounding overwrought, Hayley speaks of her obsession with her significant other with such candidness it makes the songs essential message of really really liking someone seem endearing.

Things conclude on ‘Futures‘ an unassuming start builds into Paramore’s heaviest riff to date. Hayley stays silent here and as interesting as it would be to hear what she would do with it, the title is likely to be more than just lyrical. After all the experimentation and expectations that have been shattered, it feels like Parmore are ready to move on. This album proves that they can still do what they do best but also trying something new, so that riff likely hints at what’s to come from them.

So Paramore isn’t the same band you know and love, they are stronger and more confident and are unafraid in their message. The sound is familiar to old fans, but will undoubtedly recruit new. Paramore show all the pretenders that they are just that and there is a mountain to climb.

8/10

Reviewer: Aaron Page

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