Review: Papercuts

by devinking

Up in last week’s Phoenix:
Hidden under reverb and aggressive analog production, the first sung lyrics on You Can Have What You Want belie what seems to be a cheery record title: “Once we walked in the sunlight three years ago this July.”

Full of wistful regret, Jason Robert Quever, the main dude behind Papercuts, fills his songs with a pleasant, late-’90s slacker insouciance. And though his lyrics do strive to be optimistic, for him, as for similarly dreary songwriters Elliott Smith and Jon Brion, smiles are either casualties of the past or something for other people.

This feeling also soaks into the music, which plods somewhere between Beach House (whose Alex Scally helps out with the production) and simpler, earlier Yo La Tengo, each track slowly borne along by droning organs and unsyncopated basses. It isn’t new indie-rock territory, and spring is certainly an odd time to release such a puzzling (and puzzled) record, but I couldn’t stop listening to it.