paper animals is the latest release from Hemlock for Socrates. I had the pleasure of reviewing their previous release barometrics. I liked barometrics but paper animals seems to be a step forward in a number of areas.
The music is still experimental with a flair for the dramatic but the songs also feel accessible. A lot of the disparate elements seem to lock with greater ease and the duo finds more of a foundation to their signature sound.
“on the table” starts without warning and sounds a bit like a beat you might hear from The Knife. The music is jagged and precise while the vocals are at first very opera like. There is a part where the female vocalist starts singing about food and I have to admit I laughed. I’m not sure if that was the intent entirely but I loved it and felt it provided some levity to the music.
Nick Cave came to mind on “the attraction” and not just because he has this speaking/singing going on. It’s the dramatic way and inflection which has some similarities. There are some great things happening with the music. I liked some of the basic midi sounds which seem like they are from ’80s synth. As the song progressed both vocalists came into the mix and while it was hard to pay attention to the lyrics I liked the over stimulation.
“warren” is a bit of a slow burn with attitude. There is a mix of drum machines like percussion with white noise and pads. I was again picturing hardware drum machines and synths from a couple decades back. Brian Eno felt like a reference.
I liked how off kilter “origami” was. The song is psychedelic and felt like vertigo at points that was very original sounding.
The duo are really just getting started. There are a lot more tracks ahead. The dark and subterranean “frustration free” was great. “supply” might be the highlight, just for the fact of how much I loved the groove. The opera vocals really came together around the two-minute mark which transitions into a post-rock style break. Great song.
“desire” was another standout with some seriously beautiful melodies and transitions. The sound design is great here and they really try and push it. The ominous “me for me” felt thematic and utilizes a lot of pads. I also loved the lounge-like feel on “swarm.” The closer “something or nothing” really melds experimental aspects and catchy melodies.
The duo have no doubt expanded their palette but more importantly this release seems to be cohesive and fits into a singular vision. They seem to be on a great trajectory. Recommended.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook