Along with bands like the Riff Tiffs, the Western Civilization and Hearts of Animals, Papermoons are helping to define a new direction for Houston indie rock that largely eschews the punk, noise and psychedelic influences that have dominated for the past two decades. Instead of confrontation and muscle, they deliver intricate arrangements, attention to detail and an acute sensitivity. But although the sounds and aesthetics have changed, the ethos remains the same: idiosyncratic original music, delivered in a resolutely personal and uncompromising voice. Papermoons' debut full-length New Tales exemplifies this movement, with introspective lyrics set to gentle folk-rock and delivered in Daniel Hawkins and Matt Clark's boyish harmonies. The record's best moments are the wonderfully thoughtful lines that wind through unpredictable melodies in songs like "Live Right" ("I just want to know if life is a joke; because I breathe right, do I live right?") and the excellent "Honesty" ("There's something to say for honesty, there's something to say for lying pretty"). Clark and Hawkins's harmonies could stand to vary some from the parallel thirds and fourths that they seem to favor almost exclusively, and their tastefully unorthodox drumming is hampered somewhat by a snare that sounds like a sock full of pennies. However, these are fairly minor quibbles with a record that, on the whole, is self-assured, meaningful and quite gratifying.
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