Quite possibly the bastard child of Journey and Linkin Park, North Carolina’s multiracial seven piece band Paper Tongues seem perfectly constructed for modern rock radio, and have met with some success already.
Fast-paced rap/rock track “Ride to California” is somewhat of an outlier, relying more on spit-fire lyrics than the huge swooning melodies that are characteristic of most of the other tracks. Newest single “Trinity” is more in line with the group’s general sound: electronic tinges, echoing guitars, passionate singing, and a huge chorus of “Time after time, we will survive. That’s why I’m still alive”. There’s also “For the People”, percussion-heavy with distorted guitars until the fist-pumping chorus overtakes all the music.
Unlike Linkin Park and many long-since forgotten rap rockers, Paper Tongues maintain a surprisingly positive streak in their lyrics. “Get Higher” is a plea to stand by those whose “backs are against the wall”. There are songs of empowerment, songs about helping out your fellow man, and laments about the differences between the rich and poor (most clearly heard in “Rich and Poor”).
Like Journey, the music hits corny notes. The piano-laden power ballad “Strongest Flame” reeks of cheese as the singer tells us “Love is the strongest flame”, though you still might find yourself singing along. As I said, these songs are made for radio. Catchy with sparkling clean (over)production, Paper Tongues could be that guilty pleasure band we’re all ironically rocking out to in a bar twenty years from now.
6.5/10 Paper Tongues