The Paper Kites have long been teasing this new album, At The Roadhouse, with the band issuing five of its’ songs prior to its’ release on 1st September. The Sweet Sound Of You, Till The Flame Turns Blue, Hurts So Good, Black & Thunder and June’s Stolen Car have all been pre-released, yet they barely make up a third of the album’s song-list.
The album has a wonderful cornucopia of musical styles, all of which combine to make The Paper Kites the fascinatingly tasteful band that they are. The band seamlessly blend and weave Americana, folk and rock in the most delectably organic fashion so as to reach the near perfection this album aspires to imbue upon its’ listeners.
The Paper Kites are renowned for their stunning harmonies and brilliant musicianship, and this album continues to draw upon those strengths while adding some newer dimensions with the introduction of the incredible skills of some additional musicians. These include multi-instrumentalist Matt Dixon – whose weeping pedal-steel features on a number of the tracks – as well as Hannah Cameron on organ/keyboards and percussion and Chris Panousakis on guitars and percussion, and have enabled the band to significantly broaden their sound palette.
There isn’t a weak song on the album, which proudly gives all 16 tracks (a brave move in itself) room to develop and draw you into their magic. It is also fair to say that the album is a genre-bending masterwork, and can only lead to the band growing an ever-expanding fan base across the globe.
From the country feels of Rolling On Easy, to the heart-achingly beautiful ballads Till The Flame Turns Blue, Hurts So Good and the haunting Marietta, the band’s dulcet tones cannot be denied. Not content to just sit in the same sonic spaces, The Paper Kites have also tapped into their pop sensibilities in up-tempo masterpieces, Black & Thunder and the slightly rockier June’s Stolen Car.
Having been together for 14 years, older fans will be revelling in the fact that this band is going from strength to strength, and newer fans will be drawn to the maturity and exquisite skill on display in this new offering. Many bands much younger that this fall by the wayside after only a few years, but not The Paper Kites. They have been able to retain their original identity whilst also producing new music over and over which is faithful to the faithful. They know their audience well, and continue to make songs which speak to them in the most glorious ways whilst remaining true to themselves as serious musicians who are not content to just sit on their laurels.
At The Roadhouse is the culmination of this band’s ability to transcend the temptations of veering off-track with their overall sound or indulging themselves in the trappings of chart-topping fanfare. The album has delivered one of the finest adult contemporary recordings that this reviewer has heard in years, and has most certainly taken the band to another level.
At The Roadhouse is released today via Wonderlick Entertainment/Sony Music and can be found on your favourite streaming services and wherever good music is sold.
Feature photo: Nick McKinlay