REVIEW: Paper Moon: One Thousand Reasons to Stay...
Paper Moon: One Thousand Reasons to Stay... One Reason to Leave [Endearing, 2003] (mp3)
Three words? sad-pop underdogs
The key to success in pop music is to keep it simple. Paper Moon (named after that movie that the Bad News Bears girl won an Oscar for) know this and keep things straightforward on their debut album, One Thousand Reasons to Stay... One Reason to Leave. The basic modus operandi here seems to be the marriage of sugar-high tempos with post-breakup melancholy. Kind of like Lisa Loeb, if she didn't suck.
The Paper Moon formula is a hit-or-miss affair, but in the best way anyone could hope for; the hits are heartfelt and occasionally soaring, and the misses are simply unmemorable and disappointing. Of the former there is opener "Your Thesaurus Won't Help You Now," the slow-by-comparison "Sno-Globe" and the waltzy confessional "Pancake Bay Weather Station." The band supports the charming, childlike lilt of Allison Somers' vocals with enough cymbal crashes and keyboard riffs to make these 4 minute-plus songs as instantly catchy as 30-second radio jingles.
One Thousand Reasons lags at some points. I might be nit-picking here, since the album is fairly strong and likable, but "Start Over" and "The History of Punctuation" fall short of the standards set by the rest of the album, despite the fervent performances.
The serious output glut in independent music makes it hard for a lot of talented and deserving bands to get noticed. But with sincere pop music (in general) enjoying some over-due critical praise as of late, One Thousand Reasons to Stay... One Reason to Leave has a good shot at winning some people over, Rocky Balbo/Seabiscuit style. Summer is almost over: let Paper Moon be the soundtrack to which you buy your Hilroy 3-ring binders.