You don’t “discover” many bands from Washington D.C. on a Dundee stage these days. But that’s exactly the somewhat unlikely circumstances in which I first came across the Paranoid Style.
Their set that night was short, just 4 songs, but nevertheless impressive as was the tour E.P. they were selling. From that moment on I was hooked and their proper debut E.P. ‘The Purposes of Music In General’ was followed over the next couple of years by further E.P.s ‘The Power of Our Proven System’ and last year’s brilliant ‘Rock’n’Roll Can’t Recall’, MPT’s E.P. of 2015.
It’s fair to say that, consequently, I’ve been waiting for their full length debut for several years and in the shape of ‘Rolling Disclosure’ it’s finally here (out last week on vinyl and digital on Bar None Records). And it’s predictably brilliant, even if it doesn’t feature ANY of their earlier songs.
The Paranoid Style live in Dundee
In line with the present day trend for short LP’s ‘Rolling Disclosure’ packs its 10 songs into a breathtaking, thrill-packed 30 minutes. Indeed there’s barely a pause for reflection so that it’s not until ‘Cathedral Lows’ the EIGHTH track on the album that the pace slackens at all, and that’s not exactly a ballad.
The opening riff of lead track ‘The Ambassador’s Morning Lift’ is a declaration of intent – this is the heaviest Paranoid Style record to date with a suitably scuzzy production.
It’s maximum rock’n’roll drawing its inspiration from the late 70’s, the clearest nod to which is the album’s cover song (a Paranoid Style tradition) – ‘Duvet Cover’ by Stiff Records stalwart Wreckless Eric.
As ever part of the Paranoid Style’s appeal is the torrent of words delivered by Elizabeth Nelson which are witty and effortlessly cool much in the tradition of early Elvis Costello (but probably funnier).
Although they pile on the riffs, even adding in the odd guitar solo, at its heart ‘Rolling Disclosure’ relies on its hooks, and the Paranoid Style are utterly dependable in this regard.
So, smart lyrics, memorable hooks, crunching guitars all delivered with panache is a formula you can trust. And, trust me, Rolling Disclosure is a memorable debut that’s both literate and incendiary.
Here’s the album’s most frantic track:
The album is available from Bar None now.
And as a reminder of the last E.P. the video for lead track – the Debbie Harry fronting Husker Du rush of ‘National Sunday Law’ (still available from Battle Worldwide):