by The PaperheadThe Paperhead


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The Paperhead's third album, Africa Avenue, was where it all came together for the Nashville trio. Their retro-psych sound reached its full bloom, while they also added other elements to the mix like a little country-rock and some swanky bossa nova. These few left turns sprinkled in amidst the dreamy pop-psych freakouts turned out to be teasers for the band's next album. On 2017's Chew, they rip up their playbook and treat the record as if each song were a different AM radio station circa a mid-'60s dream world that only exists in the mind of retro bands like the Paperhead. It's a pretty fun place to touch down, full of wacky juxtapositions and a kitchen-sink approach to arrangements that always keeps the listener guessing. The record kicks off with a psych-pop song that starts like a dark Zombies number and veers into blown-out sax solos by the end. It's a gentle lead-in that merely hints at what's to come. From there the record swings from weirdo cosmic country ("Pig") to swaggering bubblegum blues-rock with horns ("Emotion [Pheremones]"), bullfight ballad psych ("Dama de Lavanda"), and thudding prog bubblegum with grungy guitars ("War's at You"), with stops in Bakersfield ("Porter's Fiddle"), a smoke-filled, very suspicious cabaret ("Little Lou"), and Tomorrow's toy box (the bonkers title track). It's a breathtaking journey guided by sure hands and a wild imagination, with each stop along the path anchored by a memorable melody, a brilliant musical hook, or an unexpected moment that sounds terrible on paper but totally works. It would have been easy for the lads to crank out another excellent psych-pop record like Africa Avenue; they probably could have done it in their sleep. To take the chances they do here and nail every tricky landing perfectly is pretty amazing, and Chew ends up being an impressively inventive, constantly thrilling slice of swashbuckling psychedelic derring-do. It's the kind of successful changing of gears too few of the original psychedelic bands of the '60s were able to do. The bands that followed closely in their wake weren't all that great at it, either. The Paperhead are great at it and as a result, Chew is both their weirdest and most satisfying album.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/17/2017
Label: Trouble In Mind
UPC: 0630125983775
catalogNumber: 59837
Rank: 114847

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