FatCat is delighted to announce ‘Youth Culture Forever’, the second album from PAWS which saw the band decamp to a studio in the woods just outside New York to hone and expand on the sound that saw their debut ‘Cokefloat!’ acclaimed by the likes of Pitchfork, BBC music, and nominated for the Scottish Album of the Year Awards.
Recording at Adam Pierce’s (Mice Parade/ Swirlies) studio in the woods outside of New York City, PAWS produced the album themselves in an attempt to strive for the sound that they had always imagined for the band. As Phillip Taylor from the band says “It feels like everybody considers our debut LP to be ‘lo-fi’, which really bothered us as we felt it was the complete opposite by comparison to our early releases.” He states that he wanted ‘Youth Culture Forever’ to be “bigger and louder, softer and quieter” and to “present the potential of our dynamic range more accurately than the first album”. This can be heard right from the album’s opener, ‘Erreur Humaine’, which opens with Taylor playing a gentle, lilting guitar riff and ruminating on the end of a relationship with typical searing honesty before the full band explode into life, sounding heavier, fuller, and darker than ever before.
Touring incessantly since the release of their debut album, PAWS have grown into a fierce and compelling live act, the hours spent playing basements and bars giving the three-piece a greater understanding of each other, allowing them to stretch out and push themselves in the studio. Already a live favourite, ‘War Cry’, a near 12 minute epic, demonstrates this confidence and ambition and includes an extended instrumental that pummels the listener in a way befitting of the track’s title.
While the track lengths have expanded on occasion, so has the instrumentation, as Taylor explains; “We thought it would be nice to try and highlight the mood within certain songs with some textural instruments. The Cello (played by Isabel Castellvi, who has worked with Diane Cluck, Coco Rosie and Mark Kozelek) just has a very mournful and profound presence and it felt appropriate for the songs we used it in, it's a beautiful instrument.” Elsewhere instruments such as Piano (played by Adam Pierce) and Glockenspiel highlight vocal hooks and add richness to complement the fuller production values of the album. This is not a band that has forgotten the power of a hook, or how to write a sub-three minute pop-punk song, however, as the brilliant ‘An Honest Romance’ demonstrates. Posessing a huge sing-along chorus and lyrics about unrequited love that are anecdotal and painfully specific whilst being instantly relatable, the track is PAWS at their melodic, heart-on-the-sleeve best.
Of the album’s title Taylor explains that it came to the band when he and Josh Swinney’, PAWS’ drummer were watching an episode of the cartoon ‘Adventure Time’;
“One of the main characters screams “Youth Culture Forever!” jubilantly in an act of defiance towards an older character who was telling him that his new-fangled youthful ways of thinking and acting were silly and naïve. We just thought that it was a really great message. Life is forever changing and the problems we face as human beings are forever changing. The youth will always hold the potential to make change.”
Expanding on the theme, Taylor states that “Youth culture is forever changing but always retaining the same unmeasurable energy generation after generation. I want that energy to stay with me until I'm an old man, if I get that far.” His chances of doing so appeared slim at one point during the making of the album thanks to a terrifying run-in with a bear that had come out of the woods, but the band survived to make a thrilling album that captures that youthful energy and exuberance, distilling it into a coherent album that cements PAWS’ standing as a vital young band.
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