Paper Rival - Dialog
Record Label: Photo Finish
Release Date: June 3, 2008
Witnessing a talented group of musicians close the curtain early, regardless of the quality of their last release, is always a sad moment to experience. There are always those unanswered questions like "Where would the band have gone next?", or "What could have helped them to stay?" that always linger in a way that never gives fans real closure. Unfortunately for Paper Rival fans, this is accentuated even further given the great quality of Paper Rival's first and last full length, Dialog.
In a remarkable way, Dialog begins by instantly shedding most of what was heard in their previous EP and instead opens with "Are We Brothers?". With edgier guitar riffs placed alongside Jake Rolleston's improved vocal work, the song can easily be likened to much of Manchester Orchestra's I'm Like a Virgin Loosing a Child. While the comparison might do an disservice to Paper Rival for some, the structure and the dreamy vocals given by Rolleston gives it the familiar Paper Rival personality that can assure fans this album has simply evolved upon earlier works with some outside influence thrown in.
While most of the songs boast fantastic melodies and impressive musicianship in general, it's not until the album slows down with tracks like "Bluebird", "An Easy Belief" (which hearkens back greatly to the lush sound of the self-titled EP), and the lyrically beautiful "The Kettle Black" that Paper Rival's style of earnest guitar work becomes more apparent and gives feeling for some of the rather honest sounding lyrics to lay themselves across:
"When the cavalry clears and the limbs of our peers/ lay around us like sticks in the mud/ we'll say to ourselves "Where's the Heaven in this Hell?"/ we're on a ladder without any rungs./ with the ash of our friends in our lungs." - "The Kettle Black"
For the cynics who have decided that this genre of "indie rock" just isn't for them, give credit to Paper Rival for creating a real sense of personality in eleven tracks than most bands can't manage to create across their entire discography. With the exotic string work of "Cassandra" and the biting, confident words of "Keep Us In", Dialog is a truly expansive album that deserves to be discovered regardless of the state of Paper Rival. Each song feels like a story worth the time to hear and an exposition of the band's excellent talent at variation of styles while managing to keep a true familiar personality resonating throughout the album. Dialog may have been the curtain call for Paper Rival, but it's worth lifting the veil to see just what it's all about.