Paper Route Real Emotion CD

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Paper Route Real Emotion CD. Photographers: Allister Ann; Emma Tierney; Ashtin Paige.
Nashville trio Paper Route shine on their third album Real Emotion. Balancing hook-heavy anthems with sweeping atmospherics, they channel a wide swath of influences -- trip-hop, Brit-pop, '90s alternative -- but mostly capture the spirit of OneRepublic, Radiohead, or Coldplay (albeit on a slightly smaller scale). They're just as comfortable exercising restraint ("Second Place," "Love Is Red") as they are unleashing big statements ("Pretend," "Real Emotion"), which is part of the appeal of the collection. The immediate standouts are the radio-friendly, could-be hits: "Writing on the Wall" blends the Black Keys with the energy of bands like Klaxons or Foster the People; "Mona Lisa" shimmers and struts like Borns or Young the Giant; "Laugh About It" rides an elastic bassline all the way through Fitz & the Tantrums territory, and album highlight "Chariots" takes the crown with a glorious 2-step garage break reminiscent of Hard-Fi or Kasabian. However, taking a moment to focus on the less-flashy tunes and delve into the heart of Real Emotion will result in a deeper payoff. The angelic "Untitled" and the ethereal "Blue Collar Daydream" offer early respite via Coldplay's icy Ghost Stories, while the two-part "Lara" and "Zhivago" build upon ambient atmosphere and an arena-ready closing burst that would make the good Doctor proud. Much like the quieter material on their first two albums (think "No Sudden Revelations" and "Tamed"), the trio that ends Real Emotion is a comforting comedown, tapping into those Massive Attack/Björk/Sneaker Pimps influences. There's enough going on to please a variety of tastes: this is one of those "sounds like a greatest-hits album even though it's not" albums. ~ Neil Z. Yeung


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