Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Paws Pours On A Fuzzy Cokefloat!

If you haven't caught the rising stars of Scottish rock-noise, Paws, then their debut will be a nice surprise. Recently signed with FatCat Records to clean up their demos, they're part of a growing garage punk revival in the United Kingdom. It's a good time for one.

Currently living in Glasgow, the trio came together there after their original quartet went bust. What came out of the new band was an always fuzzy and sometimes sarcastic sound that hints at alternative rock without diving in completely to retain originality. It's called Cokefloat!

Cokefloat! introduces Paws to a bigger world. 

Although Cokefloat! is their full-length debut, Phillip Taylor, Matt Scott, and Josh Swinney have been at it for awhile as an indie band, opening for the likes of Dum Dum Girls and Japandroids as those bands toured Europe. After the debut, it's likely they'll be looking for openers of their own soon.

Between tours and openers, they wrote several dozen songs and even self-produced a few homegrown lo-fi demos via Cath Records (co-managed with friends) to share around until they were found. They also did a split with Lady North before a little-heard FatCat Records EP and double-sided single (both with FatCat). But you don't have to dig for them. Cokefloat! fits in most of what was missed.

Cokefloat! features 13 tracks, leading off with Catherine 1956. The opener starts out a little nasal in its tone, but it doesn't take long for the lyrics and rhythm to wash over it as you're hit with the fact that this song is about the loss of Taylor's mom. She's gone, lost to cancer. She's missed a lot since then and her absence is felt, but somehow Taylor manages to muster that life that goes on and makes her wish come true.

"A lot of crazy things have happened in our lives over the past two years. Some good and some horrific," said Taylor. "I'd like to say that there is a strong feeling of positivity and hope running throughout this record. Light piercing through some distinctly dark times."

Much of the album is like that. The sound is punchy, catchy, and quirky until you recognize what the song is all about. Sore Tummy and Bloodline drive the point home. While the album has a much fuller, bigger sound, the band put up this acoustic version of the latter earlier this year along with home videos.

When the band says that they often found themselves playing just to keep themselves alive, they mean it. That doesn't mean every song on the catchy, quirky album is wrapped around dark times. When they constructed the album, they picked 13 tracks from their entire catalog to represent the last two years.

That was only one part of it. Mostly, they sat around and picked their favorite songs and then re-recorded them, including several that only existed as demos. Along with Sore Tummy, Poor Christopher Robin, Get Bent, Tulip, Boregasm were all rough cuts before they entered the studio with producer Rory Attwell (Test Icicles). He likely added some of the punk influences that lend well to the sound that the band has always wanted to achieve, a sugar rush before the crash.

Other standouts on the album include the grinning lyrics and borrowed riffs in Pony, the poignant Bird Inside Birdcage, Ribcage Inside Bird, and the intensity of the more experimental Winners Don't Bleed. The rest of the album has other high points too, surprisingly different given the simplistic structure. The entire album is worth consideration.

Cokefloat! By Paws Rocks 9.1 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

If Paws is representative of more Scottish rock ready to come out of Glasgow, then there is plenty of promise for noise rock yet. Sure, some people might be ruffled in saying these guys belong to another era, but not me. Listen to the lyrics and you'll find that Paws are authentic in their trials and exuberant in their youth. This is a band to watch.

Cokefloat! by Paws is available on iTunes. You can also find the album on Amazon or order it from Barnes & Noble. Right now, Paws is touring the U.K. and looking forward to a Japandroids tour, round two. That would be like two headlining acts instead of one. So if you have the chance to see them live, take it. Find dates on Facebook.
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