After releasing two E.P.S in their native America, the Paranoid Style have hopped across the Atlantic to put out their third release ‘Rock and Roll Just Can’t Recall’ on London based Battle Worldwide Recordings.
As with the earlier records the new E.P. dispenses liberal doses of classic rock’n’roll over the course of its five tracks. So you get great tunes, meaty guitars (with added guitar solos) and razor sharp lyrics in the tradition of early Elvis Costello.
Lead track ‘National Sunday Law’ is an intoxicating mix of Blondie and Hüsker Dü whilst ‘Bound To Be Vacant’ is a frenetic slice of new wave pop.
The title track itself is a little more restrained and almost sounds like a duet with Elizabeth singing in two quite distinct registers throughout.
The final track on the E.P. displays the band’s love of a good cover. ‘Master Jack’ was originally a U.S. Top 20 hit from 1968 by Three Jacks and a Jill and, if the tune’s folk rock origins remain evident, the Paranoid Style still manage to impart a little 21st century heft to the song.
The music is certainly important but it’s fair to say that the words are at least of equal value.
First off, their lyrics just sound pretty damn cool, in the way that, say, the Pixies’ once did. They’re intelligent, witty and occasionally absurd as illustrated by the title track’s “I was a double agent on a submarine/down on the Isle of Wight”.
But the band also understand that the cadence of the words has a critical impact on the music itself.
The one track that I haven’t mentioned ‘New Age Tricks’ illustrates this perfectly with Elizabeth’s calm and considered vocals set against the loping drumbeat and the busy guitars.
The trick works the opposite way too as ‘Bound To Be Vacant’, already taken at a brisk tempo , is imparted with an even greater sense of urgency by its frantic torrent of words.
‘R&RJCR’ is nothing less than exhilarating, intelligent guitar pop from a band that, frankly, make it look effortless. What more can you ask for?*
‘Rock & Roll Just Can’t Recall’ is released on Monday 2nd March on cassette by Battle Worldwide Recordings. Pre-order it here.
BWR seem to be a little coy at the moment about streaming the record but if you head here, you can hear ‘Bound To Be Vacant’ courtesy of Beat Surrender.
But, as part of a special MPT media bonanza, courtesy of the band, I can offer you instead the unavailable digitally ‘Charmed By Myself’ from the last E.P., ‘The Power of the Proven System’ and can assure you that it is also fairly representative of the new record.
Additionally here’s a video to go with a slightly rough around the edges live recording of ‘Beyond Petition’, (the original of which can also be found on the last E.P)
And just to hammer the new wave theme to death, here’s a somewhat unusual cover of Graham Parker’s ‘Local Girls’ …
Previously on MPT – The Paranoid Style interview to celebrate the release of the ‘Power of the Proven System’ E.P. and cassette.