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Album Of The Week: The Paper Kites 'twelvefour'


Melbournian folk gods have weaved together a textual folk masterpiece as The Paper Kites return for record number two. ‘twelvefour’ brings together the solitary silence of the midnight to early morning alone time as lead Sam Bentley creates a concept album that pushes himself and the ensemble into a realm they haven’t reached before. Writing songs solely between the hours of midnight to 4am, Bentley has selected 10 tracks that encapsulate a quiet brilliance unlike anything they’ve done before.

2015 has slowly garnered the title of ‘the year of folk gone electric’ and The Paper Kites are proving it to be deliciously true. The album strikes an electric chord from the outset, stating loud and proudly that the mandolin infused acoustic kite isn’t the one that will be flying in ‘twelvefour’; but this certainly isn’t a bad thing. Electric Indigo is the debut single and track for the record and it swings us back into a 70’s prom style track; smooth, spry and still so silky sweet. A perfect track to kick off such a silky sweet record. 

Infusing steel strings and an amp into their folk story telling mastery, they still manage to weave through our heart strings in lyricism to make even the Tin Man shed a tear. “I’ll be anything you want, except what you want me to be,” cuts through the electric infused harmonica track I Lied To You Cause I’m Lost in a brutally honest way. This feels packed track is just one of the many touching moments riddled throughout the delicately written record. These moments show just how in touch they are with their old self, but are not afraid of confidently stepping into their new experiments.

Revelator Eyes opens with a disco drum beat but with soft harmonies the track blends together elements from new and old; creating a beautiful exemplar of everything Bentley has learnt in songwriting and the togetherness of the band themselves. 

Though an amplified sound takes ahold of most of the record’s feel, Bentley has still wiggled some of the acoustic tracks long time fans can remain sentimental about. A Silent Cause, Neon Crimson and Turns Within Me, Turns Without Me, have kept the warmth of nylon strings and ethereal harmonies that soar in their exposed vulnerable state (remincent of previous tracks like Tenenbaum) creating a melancholic sigh involuntary escape, as you fight back the tears. The acoustic sound that made our heart skip for the first time years ago is still within their fingertips and show how they certainly haven’t got lost in any electric phase.

Penned solely in the depths of the early morn, ’twelvefour’ have a delicate solitary tone underlying the record in a comforting silence. Creating a haunting echo, with a beautiful juxtaposition of deep undertones with bright electric guitar the record creates a completely different counterintuitive vibe. At times you feel you want to be sad, but you can’t help but smile.

The band have jettisoned themselves from the ‘Woodland’, and taken a stroll down an abandoned ally of a metropolitan city into ‘twelvefour’. The album is a quiet wonderland that needs no climax or swell of sound to deafen your heart with a powerful punch of auric emotion. With the distinct addition of a more electric feel, the album takes hold of the hushed melodic soundscape of their usual acoustic folk schtick and placed them into the late 70’s. With a certain soft/rock — even in some moments disco — vibe, The Paper Kites have certainly created a showcase of maturity, not only displaying how much they’ve grown, but also how they aren’t afraid to experiment in new genres whilst still keeping their roots close to their heart.





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