The name exuberates just about everything you’d imagine ‘paper crows’ to be reflected in music; Emma Panas’ vocals are light in texture and Duncan McDougall’s production is dark and sinister like. The South-East London duo’s previous singles ‘Stand Alight’ and ‘Fingertips’ reflect a sense of melancholic electronic pop in contrast to their latest EP release titled Build.
Opening track ‘Happier’ sends a pulsating double beat matched with a keyboard hook that is coated on with both Panas’ and McDougall’s harmonizing vocals that keeps the listener floating on the last note of every bar. The chorus sends you into a dubstep dip that swoops you up with every belt. This is that post-break-up remedy and reassurance, reminiscent of a post-Hurts era and features rap bars from Major Look that brings a dance-pop feel to the track.
The euphoric ‘Changing Colours’ combines all the main components of a pop anthem with Panas echoing a side of Kate Bush and awaits that power ballad chorus that is delivered with marching drums, background rhythmic hand claps and real sing-along moments. ‘Changing Colours’ finds itself lost within similar sounding eighties power ballads and perhaps the odd Journey song. Although, Panas’ voice shines on this track, showing her trademark abilities to draw any listener into her atmosphere as it floats through the verses.
It’s always been a bit of a risk to cover a Smashing Pumpkins song. There’s so much to consider; it’s one of the band’s most highly regarded songs ever as well as being one of those songs that has such sentimental value to so many individuals. So yes, it’s a tough one to do justice for. Paper Crows have taken ‘Disarm’ into a post-modern excerpt with chainsaw synthesizers and ringing bells, yet still maintaining those dark complex emotions that the original encompasses.
The EP includes a selection of remixes. Rudimental takes ‘Happier’ into full throttle electronica, Kidnap Kid changes up ‘Homebound’ into a house track with a twang of funky bass and Grum pushes ‘Changing Colours’ through a swirl of synth and club house breakdowns.
Build is the perfect second stepping-stone towards the mainstream path with pop song formulas and lyrical hooks that would make even Cheryl Cole jealous. Paper Crows have created a niche neo-gothic electronic sound, and could be on their way to a commercial success.
- Jojo Khor