PAWS – No Grace
Funny that a band like PAWS can sound so of their time and yet so far removed from it. On one hand their brand of pop-punk sounds positively archaic compared to the anodyne hi-jinx of Neck Deep et al; on the other you can tie their indie-centric sounds to the 90s-referencing powerpop of, say, Cheap Girls or Beach Slang.
By this third album they’ve pretty much mastered their craft too – their bass-propelled fuzz zips entertainingly by, with a sterling production job from Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus amplifying the sunny melodicism of Gild The Lily and Gone So Long.
So far so modern-punk-by-numbers, of course. What makes No Grace feel most like a breezy treat is its fatalistic slant, as Phillip Taylor’s lyrics weigh up life’s daily struggles before concluding that they’re just not worth the worry. “We are all impermanent,” he sings, summing up bands and people alike, and the sense of joyous relief is instantly contagious.