Paper Drums began as a side project for Mat Gragg, who played drums in various New York rock bands, and has developed into a full band. The debut self-titled release Paper Drums was entirely recorded and mixed in an apartment, but this evidently did nothing to degrade the quality of the music.
The album begins with a relaxed, pulsing instrumental intro in “fcking drones,” which incorporates soft beach rock with delicate synthesizers that coalesce into a driving chorus with melodic vocals and percussion that keeps a steady beat without becoming overpowering.
The next song “eyes” starts out with a slightly detached intro, that leads into a pounding anthem of love before declining into an atmospheric and unconventionally chorded “[untitled no. 1]”. Occasional throbs from the bass guitar give the spacey song a bit of structure, but this tune maintains a distinctly different tone and feel from the previous songs on the album.
An acoustic guitar backed up by reverberating electric guitar riffs paves the way for Mat Gragg’s simple singing style to break through the soundscape and command the attention of the listener. The song gradually builds in dynamics and emotion, but retains a loose and untroubled color throughout the tune.
An upbeat rhythm reappears in “autumn leaves” and builds through “why? (i don’t know),” perhaps the most hard hitting song on the whole album. Gragg layers his voice, as he does throughout the album, with reverb and delay, giving his voice an extra dimension in the song.
The final song on the record “chasing down the sun” is also the longest on the record and arguably the most catchy, and it serves as a solid ending to an extremely enjoyable record. As a whole, Paper Drums is a stylish accomplishment for Mat Gragg, and more great music is sure to follow.
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