Paper Route - The Peace of Wild Things
Record Label: Universal Motown
Release Date: September 11, 2012
It's been a long road for the members of Paper Route since their last album Absence was release almost three and a half years ago. Since then, they had their song "The Music" appear in the movie (500) Days of Summer, toured with Owl City and Lights and they lost band member Andy Smith (who moved on to form the band Brother Leather). This would be the point where many bands would have cut their losses and parted ways, but the remaining members of Paper Route decided to give it their all and release a new album, which took almost two years to finally reach the listener's ears. But after it's all said and done, it was worth the wait.
"Better Life", the first single from the album, was released almost a full year ago and I'll admit that I was initially disappointed by the track upon the first few listens. I really liked the intro and the verses with the Ryan Tedder-esque drums, but the chorus felt like a huge letdown to me. When the chorus hits, it just falls flat and the song loses some steam. I really, really wanted to like it, but it just didn't capture the magic I was hoping for and remains one of the weaker tracks on The Peace of Wild Things.
The track "Sugar" starts off with a gentle piano melody that builds slowly with the help of haunting background vocals and a string orchestra to a great climax as vocalist J.T. Daly belts out "I've given you all I am..." You can feel the passion in his voice and it works wonderfully as a reference to what this band has gone through to make this album a reality.
"Letting You Let Go" has the potential to be a radio hit up there with the likes of OneRepublic and Coldplay. It features heavy electronic drums and a chorus that seems to saturate the listener in a wall of synths and melodic vocal hooks. When the chorus kicks in, the song takes on a life of its own and the hook of "letting you let go, oh oh oh oh" will be stuck in your head for days.
"Rabbit Holes" stars off with a bang with a thematic intro including high pitched distorted vocals. The song effortlessly transitions from loud synths and banging drums to a soft acoustic guitar break. The ability to change the mood of a single track within seconds is one of Paper Route's trademarks.
Overall, this album is a distinct departure from Absence, but it remains a solid sophomore effort. It's clear that the band was focused and determined enough to put out their best work at the right time. They could have easily faded into obscurity as "that one band with the song from the Joseph Gordon-Levitt movie", but The Peace of Wild Things is a refreshing follow-up record and leads the band down the path to potential pop success. Although they've taken the road traveled by many failed bands before them, Paper Route's journey is far from over.
One of the best albums of the year. "Rabbit Holes" into "Calm My Soul" is just a one-two punch of emotion.
Great review, too, though I wish you had covered a few more tracks from this or gone more generally into the sound of the album.