Amidst the often-bracing noise of their debut album ‘Cokefloat!’, PAWS showed signs that underneath it all was a songwriting nous which could blossom into something quite special. In part inspired by a bereavement, said debut LP led to a prolonged period of touring, pushing the band into a period of self-analysis.
All of which leads to ‘Youth Culture Forever’. Painting in broader, more confident brushstrokes, this time round PAWS go for texture over volume, subtlety over youthful bravado. Sure, they’re the same grunge noiseniks – check out ‘Narcissist’ or ‘Give Up’ for eardrum taunting pleasure – but the Glasgow band employs some unexpected tropes.
Check out the cello on ‘Alone’ or even more meditative fare such as ‘Tongues’. Ironically, the more measured approach on ‘Youth Culture Forever’ comes backed with raw production, a little more ragged than their debut.
Perhaps the album’s many contradictions are best embodied in climactic track ‘War Cry’. A burst of defiance, it lasts for 11 minutes with PAWS utilising the chemistry forged on countless tours to really stretch out. It’s enlivening, inspiring, frustrating and maddening in equal measure – and you always wonder what’s coming next.
Words: Robin Murray
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Listen to ‘Youth Culture Forever’ in full via Deezer, below…