Album Review: Paramore – After Laughter

It’s been a good four years since Paramore released any new music to the world and with a few member changes (including ex-drummer Zac Farro re-joining the band); they’re back and as strong as they’ve ever been.

Opening track Hard Times has been doing the rounds for a few weeks now; the jaunty sound to the song is stupidly infectious. The guitars are occasionally syncopated to the rhythm and would make even the most wooden of people bust a move. The song does have more of an indie vibe to it and is a natural progression from their previous offering, the self-titled album Paramore.

Rose-Colored Boy begins with the same metallic guitar tone as Hard Times and is followed by female chants of “low key, no pressure, just hang with me and my weather”. Paramore have always been a very lyrically honest band and the words to Rose-Colored Boy are no different. Depicting a break-up, the song has that signature Paramore twist on it, making it brighter and not your typical sad song. Maybe a little more colourful than they previously were, the band still holds the main elements of “emo”.

Told You So is the latest single from the album, it experiments with a different vocal style; incorporating more electronic elements within the production and deepening Hayley Williams’ voice in places. Forgiveness is a slower number and seems more grown up than they have ever been. Complementing the tinny guitar sound, the use of synthesizers within the song is inspired. Maybe the song won’t be played live anytime soon, but this track shows progression from a band that is not afraid to genre bend and experiment with their sound.

Fake Happy starts with serious Carole King vibes with a simple female vocal accompanied by an acoustic guitar; the song then drops back into 2017 with the keyboard heavy verse. 26 is a highlight, with Williams given the opportunity to showcase her stellar vocals that, on other songs, are lost behind the electronic production.

Pool is an indie rock anthem, the summer vibrations are strong with this one and prove once again how great Paramore are at writing a really great pop song. It’s obvious to see that the band are not the same one that they began back in 2004, but musically, they are strong and are pushing the boundaries of the softer side of rock. A song that musically could’ve been off an early Blondie album, Grudges is a great little pop ditty with thoughtful lyrics to match.

No Friend is the ugly duckling of the album, it has similar tones musically to the rest of the songs but the overwhelming feel of the song is different, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe because Williams doesn’t actually feature on the song or that the lyrics sound like they’ve been shouted from the room next to the recording studio makes for an uncomfortable listen the first time around, but it definitely gets better on a second and third listen.

A song which maybe doesn’t have the same impact as the singles from the record, Tell Me How is a still a great closing song for the album, perfect for an encore at a concert. Williams’ echoey vocals soar over the staccato guitar riffs from guitarist and the warming piano accompaniment. A special mention should go out to guitarist and the heart of Paramore, Taylor York; he co-wrote all the songs on the album with Ms Williams and has been ever present in Paramore’s adversity over the years.

With every band and every new release they put out, there are always going to be critics judging on past work and this time Paramore are shoving a middle finger to everyone who doubted whether they would return after the loss of bassist Jeremy Davis. After Laughter is a rebirth for Paramore, the songs seem more natural and have more meaning now than ever. Of course bands need to evolve over time and Paramore have done it spectacularly with dignity and maturity.

Paramore are touring the UK next month, check out the dates below:

15th June –  Dublin Olympia
16th June – Belfast Waterfront
18th June – Manchester Apollo
19th June – London Royal Albert Hall
21st June – Bristol Colston Hall
22nd  June – Edinburgh Usher Hall

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