BY PAUL MURRAY
- New Music Review -
A review is rarely written by someones best friend. It probably should not as of the implication…
Internal joke aside, I have seen Paul play live more than anyone really should, with that said I’m still only a rookie compared to his most vivid followers/groupies. But the problem with seeing him live so many times isn't that he’s in any way bad or boring to look at. In fact the opposite - he’s an incredible live performer who really has that "it" about him. The problem lies in how, on a debut-EP he will be able to convert his live performances into a Spotify-experience.
It’s an interesting start with 'Holiday Friends' as I don’t recognize it until a few seconds in. Amy Squirrel adds a great ”Magic Numbers” harmony plus another dimension with her absorbing cello play, and after the first chorus you are pretty much caught - Paul has introduced new instruments and dimensions that, for a fan of his, really intrigues and excites. The song does what it so desperately needed to do - it starts the EP off with a bang and a statement, this really is a new Paul Murray sound.
Strength becomes apparent when you know when to not over-do. 'Tiny Victories', a favorite track of many, including me, builds up very well and naturally. I didn't even realize the drums until someone else pointed it out and that surprised me even more. For someone who spends a lot of his listening time, dissecting tracks and songs, I got inevitably blind the second time listening to 'Party?'. Because, truthfully, I actually listened to a preview about a month ago and to be honest, I dissected the crap out of it. But whatever was done by the great producer Tim Bidwell, changed the core of the EP.
A person is very lucky when he/she finds a partner in crime. Tara Vowles deserves a big portion of gratitude for the sound she is adding on ’Relax With the Devil’, her and Amy’s harmonies really add a more feminine touch to the whole collection. Surrounding yourself with enhancing and comfortable people really is the way forward here and to me that really flows through.
’Not Infront of My Family’ is where Paul’s nitty and almost comedic lyrics really shines through, the song is really melancholic sounding and its not until your hear the word ”granny” that I start noticing the lyrics. But if there is any part of songwriting Paul really niches himself, it really is the lyrics - he writes a lot about his paranoia and fears mixed with his live experiences (mostly good moments) which is extremely refreshing and something that live audiences notice very quickly.
All I can say about about ’Underrated Alligator’ is that I would have cried in that crescendo if I was mentally and physically able to. It is a classic outro song and completes a superb EP/mini album.
”Extended Plays” or EP’s as they usually are portrayed, are rarely more than a portion of songs in a similar style, comparing it to a ”Long Play”/Album where it’s a norm to tell a story and a lot of thought goes into the track-list. ”Party?” is a slightly longer than most EP’s with its 5 tracks and really brings you on a Paul Murray journey.
I believe in constructive feedback and being very honest, therefore I was pretty ready to give a lot of feedback and possible negative criticism to Paul Murray on his debut-EP, which, I know he has put an incredible amount of hours and money into. But I’m caught up, moved, surprised and almost bit emotional after a full listen and it pleases me now more than to say that I would have given this a full pot of S’s if we had that kind of rating system.
Sincerely superb - Tim Widgar, co-founder of Stripped