Papercranes
Let's Make Babies in the Woods


4.5
superb

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
January 26th, 2011 | 51 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Say you have feelings for a shell, the ghost of me

Hailing from Gainesville, Florida, Papercranes is not exactly a household name in folk/alternative rock. In fact, everything about them begs to be left alone. Their raw sound doesn’t aim to please anyone besides themselves, and their work is an indication of the reclusive style that they integrate into their music. They seem to march to the beat of their own drum, and their albums are undoubtedly better off for it. Papercranes’ sophomore effort, Let’s Make Babies in the Woods, is a spiraling stream of consciousness expedition into front woman Rain Phoenix’s mind, a black and white soundscape of hurt and abandonment. With folk and psychedelic influences as the impetus, everything from Phoenix’s tortured wails to the music’s underlying depression is put on full display during this unpolished gem.

Let’s Make Babies in the Woods is an album that won’t fully make sense until it is over. Its sound is out of touch, maybe even a little coarse, driven primarily by percussion and Phoenix’s raspy vocals reminding one of a Regina Spektor or Kate Nash who just woke up. The music may not be directly engaging, but what it lacks in immediacy it makes up for in depth and an emotionally profound atmosphere. One could easily cite the glass-tinged piano echoes and New Orleans-style horn section present throughout “Dust Season” as a crystallizing moment for the listener. However, the truth is the album is constantly evolving within itself, even from the opening seconds. The acoustic strums and comparatively accessible chorus of “say you have feelings for a shell, the ghost of me” are an illusion, diverting attention from the album’s insistence on remaining buried in its unrefined production – something that plays to the album’s advantage significantly. The chant-like vocals become more raspy, more raw, and more honest in the desperate-sounding “Headphones”, the real introduction to the record’s signature musical style. The gentle ooh’s and hums whispering up the spine of “Long Way” lend Let’s Make Babies in the Woods a haunting air, one that continues to make its presence felt periodically throughout the album’s runtime. In the meanwhile, mid-album tracks like “Sea Red” and “Texas” give Rain Phoenix even more room to show off her creativity through metaphors and abstract-but-devastating lyrics – proving that filler has no place on this album.

The most impressive moments on Let’s Make Babies in the Woods are saved for last. “Synapses” stands out as a highlight on an album full of phenomenal songs, with haunting hums and harmonies that are startlingly interrupted by heavy drums and rapid electric guitar strums. Phoenix’s vocals are perfectly integrated as usual, with every instrument, every vocal note, every thing interacting in the most dynamic fashion possible. The pure attention to detail in this song - hell, for that matter the whole album – is so immense and so stunning that it escapes words. Yet somehow, miraculously, Let’s Make Babies in the Woods feels as through its roots lay in the basics. The closing “Grace” follows suit with a completely unrestrained vocal onslaught by Phoenix, who holds nothing back in her serenades, wails, and shouts that pay just as much if not more attention to hammering home an emotion – an idea - than they do to holding a note. And because of the album’s untamed, unprocessed feel, moments like these are able to show themselves as innovative; as rare experimentation as opposed to just sloppy. Let’s Make Babies in the Woods is Papercranes coming into their own, and doing it faster than anyone expected them to. On just their second album, they have already bestowed an absolute jewel upon us – one that may be covered in a thin layer of dust, but is still guaranteed to sparkle.



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Three

Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyrael
January 26th 2011


20879 Comments


Yet another album I need to check out, nice work Sowing. The title is kinda disturbing though.

Digging: Darkspace - Dark Space III I

cvlts
January 26th 2011


8956 Comments


what the fuck is up with that album title?

Defeaterr
January 26th 2011


139 Comments


maybe it's a The Walking Dead reference

Xenophanes
Emeritus
January 26th 2011


10594 Comments


Awesome album title.


Let's make babies in the woods.....anyone game?

Digging: Grouper - Ruins

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 26th 2011


16026 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Not sure where the album title came from, but I haven't been able to stop listening to this.

Digging: Yellowcard - Lift a Sail

mallen-
January 26th 2011


1235 Comments


sounds cool, will have to listen

Nagrarok
January 26th 2011


8247 Comments


Sounds cool, yet I'm more in the mood for accessible things atm. Review is excellllent though.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 26th 2011


16026 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks guys. Nagra when you are in the mood for something underground and kind of strange, with a female singer, this is your album.

vanderb0b
January 26th 2011


3473 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review, album sounds like something that I might enjoy.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 26th 2011


16026 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I posted the link at the top of the comments section, feel free to find out ; )

Romulus
January 26th 2011


8437 Comments


you know i was listening to the stream of this earlier this week and it was definitely good but i definitely wasn't really able to take it all in if that makes sense. need some more listens i guess. great review per usual

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 26th 2011


16026 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

yeah at first it didn't click for me either. the second run through is when it all starts to make sense, then the third run through is when i realized it is actually pretty great

vanderb0b
January 26th 2011


3473 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is pretty good stuff, gonna 3.5 it for now, expecting it to grow on me.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 26th 2011


16026 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

fuck yeah vanderbob

Captain Civic
January 26th 2011


280 Comments


Will add it to my burgeoning 'things to listen to' list.

Good review.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
January 26th 2011


31174 Comments


I'll have your babies wherever you want SS

Digging: LV and Joshua Idehen - Islands

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 26th 2011


16026 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

You and everyone else on Sputnik, amirite?

somberlain
January 26th 2011


2121 Comments


I'll have your babies wherever you want SS [2]

listening to this now and liking it
great review too

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 26th 2011


16026 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

thank you somberlain! glad you like it

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2011


7292 Comments


Bitch, please - I got first dibs on Sowing's babies. Back off.

Excellent review Sowing. It's quintessential you - thorough analysis of style, form, and function. Hearty pos. Although I have to admit I spent the first two minutes after reading this review trying to figure out how to work the album title into a conversation.

Digging: U2 - Songs of Innocence



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