The Paper Chase
Now You Are One of Us


4.0
excellent

Review

by YetAnotherBrick USER (39 Reviews)
January 30th, 2015 | 22 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Not as 'experimental' as it'd like to be, but still a delightfully creepy indie adventure.

Even though I do have a few petty grievances about it, the world still needs more albums like The Paper Chase's Now You Are One of Us. It's an honest, admirable attempt at something original, a fully fleshed out sonic adventure containing more than a few sounds that are sure to perk up your ears. Its weaknesses have nothing to do with its overall aesthetic. In fact, it's one of those albums that impresses you more with its preciseness of tone than with its actual songwriting.

The tone of Now You Are One of Us is probably the coolest thing about it. It's a creepy, creaky indie pop album with vaguely experimental tendencies. Catchy little riffs come out of scratches of violin, scratches that aren't actual notes, when they're condensed and repeated within short allotments of time. A clunky, horror-film piano is always lurking away in the background. And the album also displays a surprisingly ingenious use of sampling. A few samples appear on the album more than once, emphasizing the atmosphere and themes that they convey. The end of "We Will Make You One of Us" samples what sounds like a female teacher bluntly stating "You are sleeping, you do not want to believe."

Now You Are One of Us really does sport a masterful production job. It almost makes sense that this is sort of where the album's first weakness appears from. Even though this is an indie pop album with vaguely experimental tendencies, it presents itself as an experimental album with vaguely indie pop tendencies. And it simply is not that. The backbone of these songs is undeniably the traditional guitar-bass-drums format. And the choruses are always straining for that perfect transcendent catchiness, which just makes it more obvious that, save for a few songs, they never really get there. Vocalist John Congleton's lyrics have enough eerie and articulately violent imagery to keep you entertained, but most of the melodies don't make too much of a departure from what the rest of the music is doing, thus affecting their memorability. Even the album's standout sing-along, "You Will Never Take Me Alive," feels a little bit heard-before.

This is a pretty beefy album though, especially for its genre (or lack thereof). It has 15 songs, but one of them is an intro, and at least four of them could be considered "interludes." And most of the interludes come at the back half of the album, screwing up the album's pace quite a bit. The album could've been condensed, much like many of the sounds it contains, into something quicker and more digestible, without sacrificing any of its creepy, confrontational atmosphere. A shorter version of this album might even reinforce its message, for a lot of these songs could be described as frantic, claustrophobic bursts of feeling, but that tone kind of gets lost in a wave of interludes.

Make no mistake, the textures on this album are unique. And these songs are saying something. It's just that it feels like the band couldn't decide what to emphasize more, the 'experimental' noises or the totally traditional verse-chorus songwriting. The perfect Paper Chase album will be the one containing equal amounts of both.



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user ratings (69)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
YetAnotherBrick
January 30th 2015


6691 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

probably my most concise review. and yes, you should definitely listen to this.

Hopelust
January 30th 2015


2648 Comments


Yes, yes I should.

YetAnotherBrick
January 30th 2015


6691 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i love your avatar man, that movie is awesome

SanderCohen
January 30th 2015


28 Comments


I think this is perfect. But sexy-swell review, mate.

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
January 30th 2015


14726 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Coolest band

YetAnotherBrick
January 30th 2015


6691 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

very cool band. i gotta check out the rest of their discography

Veldin
January 30th 2015


2923 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I once heard The Ugly Organ and I really loved it. Then I heard THIS album. Pos'd

YetAnotherBrick
January 30th 2015


6691 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks man. and i've heard this band compared to Cursive before, but i think there's a bit of a difference. Cursive has way more punk

Veldin
January 30th 2015


2923 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I think this has some punk/post-punk elements to it. It's immensely grown on me over the past two years, each song has become remarkably memorable to me.

YetAnotherBrick
January 30th 2015


6691 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

maybe that will happen to me too. i would also like to say that i love your ratings, man. we have a lot of the same 5's haha

Veldin
January 31st 2015


2923 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks, I dig all yr 5's as well. I've never heard of Blackalicious, what are they like? I forgot all about Sole! I was huge on Anticon a couple years ago and I love Selling Live Water and Bottle of Humans. Apparently he's released 4 albums in the last two years...

YetAnotherBrick
February 4th 2015


6691 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Blackalicious are basically a hyper-creative classic hip-hop revival. The subject matter tends to stay in the realm of how good my lyrics are, not selling out and being wack, etc. But the beats always use really original sounds; all their songs are really distinct. And Blazing Arrow is their masterpiece. One of the most verbose and engaging hip-hop albums I've ever heard. There's a song called "Release," it's 9 minutes long and it's all verses. And it features Saul Williams. So yeah haha, and Selling Live Water is so fucking underrated it's scary

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
February 5th 2015


14726 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

also brick it sounds like youd like their newest album better if you havent jammed already

aircycle
February 5th 2015


1103 Comments


i think god bless your black heart has more of the "balance" that you're talking about in the last paragraph

out come the knives is more experimental too but i prefer gbybh

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
February 5th 2015


14726 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ok fine

aircycle
February 5th 2015


1103 Comments


someday this could all be yours and g-d bless ur blk hrt are my favs so w/e

YetAnotherBrick
February 5th 2015


6691 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is actually the only album of theirs i've heard, but i def plan on checking out the rest

Hopelust
February 5th 2015


2648 Comments


Yes. Cop donuts are ironically funny. Also, just plain hilarious.

LotusFlower
October 31st 2015


12002 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Im surprised no one has put any of these guys albums on a spooky music list this halloween

torts
January 24th 2016


4300 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

wilddddddddddd



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