PAWS - Youth Culture Forever

by Jim Harris Rating:8.5 Release Date:2014-04-26

PAWS are back with their second effort and what a rollicking, delightful blitz through 90s-inspired punk-pop. Coming off the critical success of their first release, Cokefloat!, PAWS have returned with a delightful mix of power pop, garage-punk, alt-punk, and well, ultimately, a rather tightly constructed set of well-crafted songs. It’s clear from the start that this is a band not simply interested in their punkish attitude and delivery, but more driven by crafting a great song.

And they do it well on Youth Culture Forever. The acoustically driven opening track, ‘Erreur Humaine’, is a pleasant intro to a couple of fairly straight-forward pop-punk songs before the album transitions into one of the finest tracks, ‘Owls Talons Clenching’, which is a pile-driving, 21st century power-pop gem.

Throughout, PAWS mix it up nicely with multi-instrumental touches and a few acoustic flourishes, like the first song and the brilliant title track. While there may be a few too many
predictably filtered vocals for my tastes, and that bratty, 90s-pop standard of turning a monosyllabic word like ‘up’ into a series of hiccuped yells extending the word into eight or nine syllables (boys, could you just listen to Rancid a little more…), for the most part, PAWS shows why they are ahead of the curve on Youth Culture Forever.

They also execute an 11 minute track extremely well. Imagine that! ‘War Cry’ starts off like Ozzy’s ‘Warpigs’ but then extends into a fairly solid jam which isn’t boring in the least. This is a talented band and their second effort is nice step forward.

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