Easing in with summery, chiming guitars closely followed by hazed, hypnotic vocals, PAWS gently uncover the sounds of their new EP, My Parents Said We Can’t See Each Other Anymore. Opening track ‘Teenage Breeding’ continues by accumulating layers as it flows towards awkward chorus that hints at menace with the delicate clashes of notes. These layers continually grow to a calm ending that is suddenly interrupted by the feedback alluding to ‘Ariel’.
The drums kick off into a gritty lo-fi punk frenzy pushing the records capacity for containing energy. There is something surprisingly poppy in this track; however, there is still enough dirt under its fingernails as the screams in the chorus seem fuelled solely by teen angst. This track only stops for breath after a shout of “1, 2, 3, 4!” and a chaotic breakdown that quickly builds back up to the rest of the track.
‘Boo Hoo’ continues in the same vein – trashy but catchy. The chorus flattens to portray the singer’s clear boredom that grows into desperation reminiscent of 90’s US punk brewed up by Nirvana’s success. Suddenly, the song is sliced by a cutting, simplistic solo that so easily could be out-of-place but that is exactly what makes it work; this is one of the most exciting aspects of PAWS’ songs as they are all so palatable yet these moments add an element of playful danger.
If your attention isn’t already in their hands, or paws I suppose, the instantaneous stabs of ‘Salem’ sink their claws in and won’t let go. Despite its catchiness, enough noise is thrown at you to keep it interesting, the dreamy close brings us to the last track ‘Summer Wipeout’. This pulses through the stereo speakers and then bursts with the titles promised seasonal allure. Vocals flow with a youthful, honest charm and then the tide smoothly crashes into a perfect lo-fi surf chorus that you just have to blast out your windows to brighten your summer.
As PAWS new release stands in silence it seems a perfect alternative summer soundtrack that… Hold on! It’s, thankfully, not over as the noise rock of a hidden track stirs the silence. This din of the intro evolves into a glassy guitar riff with haunting qualities. It moves around in the almost psychedelic circles hypnotising the listener with suggestions of melancholy and anger. Then the distortion returns with a guitar solo that withers into blissful yet awkward jangles as it fade and is then punctuated by a hi hat to confirm the end of the EP.
As I was saying, a burst of the perfect alternative summer soundtrack characterised by relaxing surf lo-fi, upbeat pop punk and a noisy wild card to keep things weird. The only shame is that PAWS put so much energy into their gigs that it is impossible, despite their attempt, to recreate it on a record. Therefore, the only way to improve this EP is to go out and actually see them. These six tracks will keep you going over the three months of summer even if you wear holes in the knees of your drainpipes in that time.
Words: Gary McCrossan