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Posted on April 26th, 2013 (10:00 am) by Ben Schenkel

Brooklyn synth pop quartet Papertwin have released their most recent EP Peru on April 16th. The four track project is the second EP for the group and is to precede their debut full-length. The band was conceived by guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Max Decker, joined shortly thereafter by high school friend Francis Cardinale on drums and programming. Within the year, the project grew with the addition of keyboardist Nicholas Shopa and by 2011 the band had added Justin Michael Miller on bass and synth. Papertwin’s debut EP, Porcelain, dropped in January of 2011 featuring five synth-heavy pop/new wave tracks that received a healthy amount positive attention, at least locally. Now the group’s second EP is out two years later and honestly, there isn’t much improvement, if any at all. While the group has taken on a more space-out, shoegazy style, the record is still musically lacking. It relies too heavily on synth sounds and the tracks don’t seem to go anywhere. They just sort of bob around in space, sometimes going underwater for a bit then surfacing, but always ending where they began leaving the listener with a sense of, “oh, that’s it?”

The EP opens with “Diving,” starting the record off strong with atmospheric electronic textures and an interestingly unique rhythmic form. Subtly reminiscent of Animal Collective or Yeasayer with much mellower vocals, the tune slowly builds volume and adds a powerful, airy synth. Just when the wheels start turning though, the track sort of ends. The listener is left with a few moments of lukewarm synths that don’t really do anything but wave around and say, “Hey, look! We can make cool synth sounds!” I don’t want to be too harsh, maybe they meant the track to be an intro tune...on a four track EP...At least the Video is original. Constructed from old space footage, it goes astonishingly well with the music. Decker told MTV Hive, “...there is definitely a Vangelis style retro-futurism we’re referencing. We’re into that Sci-Fi noir stuff.” Now while I can’t say I don’t understand where he’s coming from, a statement like that makes me involuntary shake my head and spout, “fucking Brooklyn.”

The next track, “Wait For It,” displays a bit more potential with lots of quality synth atmospherica carrying a drum beat with a bit more momentum. This track is more danceable, but it seems like they are going for the shoegaze thing and the pop thing at the same time and simply not pulling it off. There isn’t enough wall of sound or intensity for shoegaze, and the melody is seriously lacking on the pop side of things. Three minutes in, the track hits pretty hard and achieves a few moments of dream pop bliss, but soon becomes boring and repetitive again before fading away less than a minute later.

The title track, “Peru,” opens with more dreamy electronica and some interesting ghostly vocal accompaniment. The pop melody is better here, and the drums sound satisfying and vast. However, the track still doesn’t really go anywhere. There is very little sense of momentum at all, and the song manages to bob around for 3:54 before running out of novelty and ending.

The final track “Periscope,” starts with some impressive vocal sampling and production over more atmospheric synths. The pop melody comes in shortly before the powerful wall of synth air, leading to a nice emotional rise and an anthem-style breakdown section. Then, the track builds itself up slowly and dramatically. The quartet impressively manages to add bouncy synth pop to the mix while retaining the same atmospheric build, a nice effect. But then, like a staircase going nowhere, it just ends. It almost seems unfinished, but maybe it’s just that lame.

Whatever varied reviews this EP might receive, it certainly does not help us look forward to Papertwin’s upcoming full-length. Even if the lyrics are somehow profound and redeeming, we can’t understand 90 percent of them, so we have to assume the band intended it that way and not consider them. There is a lot of electro-shit going on these days and while there are probably a bunch of Brooklyn hipsters who couldn’t disagree with us more, Papertwin’s Peru is just another failed attempt. But hey, never give up.

Track List:
1. Diving
2. Wait For It
3. Peru
4. Periscope

Papertwin: Peru EP
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

50 / 100
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