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Paulson
Variations
Initial Records
www.paulsonisaband.com


I was pleasantly surprised with this album. Paulson establishes a well thought out sound that carries through the album with necessity, urging the listener on with alternating balances of mood and rhythm. This record isn't meant to be listened to, it's meant to be experienced and breathed in. From track one, the delicate yet persistent drum lines affected my pulse, drawing me in to the middle of the songs, where I just had to give in to the overall deluge of nuances.

Paulson lies in a grey area of description, on the edge of emo, hardcore, rock, and 80's synth driven sound; they are all of these yet none at the same time, ebbing and flowing through all tracks subtly tweaking the influences to suit their medium the best. The song structure is simple, but production adds excellent breaks and emphasis points that put it well above anything basic. I consider myself a hard-ass when it comes to lyrics, and for once, this band actually impressed me with their flow and the thoughts expressed.

I can't escape the excellence the production adds to the album, the drums are constructed nicely, absent at points and driving at others with interesting lines and phasing effects - but not to the point of detraction, rather supporting the whole. Guitar and bass are balanced, suiting the strengths of their individual personalities from song to song, and the keyboards are actually interesting to me. I pretty much hate keyboards normally, and besides that, I am never satisfied with the sound effects chosen. But with Paulson, I have gained a new respect for the instrument and its usage in this record.

The beneficial aspects of this album are too numerous to expound upon here, just know that it is a solid album and completely worth the experience. I could talk about every song but I would rather tell you the amazing difference between the repeated songs: "Convertible" is a heavier melody laden experiment in motions and feel, and "Convertible (Reprise)" is a stripped down version of the same song that sounds nothing like its predecessor. I listened to this album three or four times before looking at the track listing and finally realizing they were the related. Even after I knew, I had to go back and specifically compare the two, because I couldn't believe they were somehow cut from the same cloth. But they are, and they gained that much more respect from me for creating these two beautiful but completely different songs.

What else can I say? You need this album.

-bishop

Track Listing:

1. Diaryland
2. A Great Pretending
3. Convertible
4. Nightfall
5. Most Unfortunate
6. My Funny Valentine
7. The Hard Way
8. Optimism is for Stupid Idiots
9. Feast or Famine
10. Convertible (Reprise)


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