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Spotlight Album: ‘The Life Since’ – Paul Piper

jtpao 05/18/2024


Folk N Rock
Spotlight Album: ‘The Life Since’ – Paul Piper

 

I love watching independent artists grow, and I have a feeling we’re about to witness something special with Paul Piper, a singer-songwriter from England whose immense talent shines through in his latest album, ‘The Life Since’. I’m so thoroughly impressed with this record that I can’t wait to go right in and tell you all about it, so that’s just what I’m going to do.

The album’s opening track, ‘(deterioration)’ took me into a world of unsettling dissonance, reminiscent of a horror film’s opening scene. Eerie, unnerving sounds create a thick atmosphere of tension, punctuated by the distorted whine of a distant guitar riff that evokes the rumble of a train on a deserted track.

As the song unfolds, a nice little shift occurs. The unsettling tension gradually dissipates, replaced by a sense of ethereal beauty. Warm, strummed acoustic guitars and gentle vocals come into play, creating a contrasting style. This unexpected turn really kept me engaged, and gave me some curiosity about the album’s direction.

I mean this song is a bold and unconventional choice for an album opener. It eschews traditional structures in favor of a more immersive and evocative approach. The track’s distinctive character establishes a nice tone and emotional territory.

“Parachute,” the second track, is where the album truly takes flight. It kicks off with a simple, stripped-down acoustic guitar line that sets a warm tone. His voice enters, showcasing a rich lower register that can really draw you in. There’s something undeniably great about the song’s aesthetic. The acoustic guitar feels raw and honest, perfectly complementing the heartfelt delivery I think.  A subtle electric guitar line weaves its way into the mix, adding a touch of texture to the arrangement. I feel the electric guitar adds a nice touch without overwhelming the acoustic foundation.

The vocal melody is an instant earworm—it’s very catchy. The songwriting is top-notch, making for a story that I’m sure is one many of us can connect with.. The song’s power is amplified further when the percussion kicks in during the second verse, adding a great rhythm. There’s even a clap-along element I would say that makes you want to join in and become part of the music.

The song is a real emotional wound, maybe caused by betrayal or a fundamental shift in a relationship’s dynamics. He feels trapped in his sorrow, unable to move on or find happiness. There’s a bit of isolation and a disconnect from the world around him. ‘Hole in my Parachute’ II would say symbolizes the inability to escape the pain and find a safe landing. A great track.

“Bored on the Weekend” might be the track’s title, but there’s nothing dull about it.  This song is another stunner, overflowing with the kind of acoustic charm that makes this album such a joy to listen to. The interplay between the acoustic guitar and the subtle electric guitar buzz in the background is pure magic. It creates this great sound that just pulled me right into it.. But the real star of the show here is Paul’s work for crafting killer vocal melodies. Seriously, this guy’s got a gift. This is just an album with so many catchy tracks.

Things take a turn in the song’s second half. The percussion kicks up a notch, injecting a burst of energy that gives the whole thing a folksy, country-tinged feel. It’s a surprising shift, but it totally works, adding a layer of uniqueness to the track. The ending is a masterclass in subtlety. The song fades out gently, with plenty of pauses and a sense of easing into silence.

I think this song is about feeling lost and adrift in a world that seems to have left him behind. There’s a sense of isolation and a looking for a connection, as he grapples with the loss of friendships and the numbing effects of modern distractions.

“Moonlight Sun” stands out as a truly unique track, further showcases Paul’s distinctive artistry I feel. The source of his inspiration remains a mystery to me, but the result is undeniable: a heartfelt fusion of music and emotion that can connect so deeply. The lyrics are great that the song would be worth listening to even without the music. But the music itself is also a standout, evoking a blend of classic Southern California rock and roll with a touch of late 90s SoCal vibes. It’s a surprising combination that somehow works, creating a really cool sound. And I just as I said, I’m not sure where his inspiration comes from but man, his work is really wonderful.

The depth of Paul’s vocals makes the track hit home even further, adding another layer of richness to the overall sound. His heartfelt delivery perfectly complements the instrumental arrangement, which features a standout bassline that adds a groovy foundation here.

The song seems to be about a love lost and the lingering pain of a relationship’s aftermath. He is caught in a state of waiting, hoping for a reunion or resolution that seems increasingly unlikely. It seems like he has regret as he reflects on the past, acknowledging that he was on the verge of moving on when a glimmer of hope appeared, only to be extinguished by the realization that the damage had already been done. Which I’m paraphrasing from the lyrics here but, it’s really phenomenal writing.

The album concludes with “Not Meant To Be,” and wow, what a way to end things. The track is largely acoustic, with just a hint of electric guitar adding a subtle layer of texture. But let’s be real, the star of the show is Paul’s voice. It’s cliché to say, maybe, but it truly is like another instrument. It’s been ages since I’ve encountered an album this consistently catchy, where every song burrows its way into your brain.

This track in particular features some vocal harmonies in the later half that are simply brilliant. It’s unclear if they’re backing vocals or some kind of clever studio trickery, but they add a beautiful layer of depth to the song’s conclusion. “Not Meant To Be” is a fittingly and memorable way to wrap up an album that’s brimming with amazing tracks with emotional depth.

This song is a nice farewell, a recognition that sometimes love simply isn’t enough. There’s a sense of acceptance, a bittersweet acknowledgment that some paths are not destined to converge. The lyrics kinda give off a message of encouragement and self-love, urging you to embrace your own journey and prioritize you well-being. It’s a reminder that even in the face of heartbreak, there’s an opportunity for growth and self-discovery. C’est la vie.

Who hurt you, Paul? It’s the question that lingers after listening to his latest album, an emotional rollercoaster that leaves an undeniable mark. The music is both heartbreaking and undeniably infectious, a real showing to Paul’s songwriting and ability to craft melodies that stick with.

From the unsettling opener “Deterioration” to the closer “Not Meant To Be,” the album takes you through  the highs and lows of love, loss, and the search for meaning in a world that can often feel isolating. The vulnerability of Paul’s lyrics, combined with his vocal melodies and the stripped-down instrumentation, creates an intimate and deeply personal listening experience.

This album is a must-listen. Add these tracks to your playlist, immerse yourself in Paul’s world, and discover a truly special artist who’s not afraid to bare his soul through his music.

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