Paper Relics – The Road Home
WLR037 Paper Relics – The Road Home
As I sit down to listen to ‘The Road Home’, cup of tea in hand, I really have no idea what to expect. It’s been seven years since brothers Harry and Stuart Towell graced us with their debut album ‘Over Exposed’ (Time Released Sound) and I’m curious to see how Paper Relics have developed in this time. ‘Over Exposed’ traced the brothers’ beginnings, growing up on their parents’ farm in Lincolnshire; the album beautifully explores themes of childhood nostalgia through timeless melodies, soft evolving drones and subtly placed field recordings. As you may imagine much has changed in the brothers’ lives since 2011 and themes of growth, development and future possibilities are heavily reflected in the concept and approach of their latest offering ‘The Road Home’.
Opening with ‘Stoke’s Hall’ you instantly hear that the Paper Relics sound has matured somewhat — the lo-fi acoustic melodies of ‘Over Exposed’ have given way to a warm, glowing electric guitar that takes centre stage throughout the album. The production values seem much more concise — subtle orchestration provides a bedrock for melodies to drift in and out of whilst vast spacious ambiences help stitch the compositions together creating evolving soundscapes that dive in and out of your consciousness. As the album progresses I begin to forget where I am, lost in an imaginary landscape I see myself driving down endless roads, the sun slowly fading In the distance behind me as I reminisce on the past and look forward to the future. I notice fleeting elements of ambient, post-rock, blues and neoclassical slowly revealing themselves before fading out behind beautifully reverberated guitars. I am struck by how optimistic the album is — each track seems to be reaching forward, striving for something that remains slightly
As the album moves towards its final stages it begins to stray from its soft sleepy origins, branching out and incorporating elements of hip-hop, alternative rock and a more traditional acoustic approach. The introduction of vocals on ‘Timeframing’ hints at the possible future direction Paper Relics may take, deep emotive vocals are underpinned beautifully by contrasting acoustic and electric guitars whilst their signature drones pulsate softly in the background, almost unheard. As I reach the final track ‘Frost’ I can feel myself slowly being pulled out of the imaginary landscapes I have been immersed in for the past 40 minutes, a gentle piano melody looping and fading away as Harry’s vocals swirl around my head like a hypnotic siren. Like waking up from a well needed snooze, I feel refreshed, relaxed and optimistic, ready for whatever the world has to throw at me.
’The Road Home’ is now available via the Whitelabrecs Bandcamp page in two runs of 50 copies — the familiar ‘white label vinyl-effect CDr’ as well as a special printed Cdr edition that looks just like a mini gatefold LP. I highly recommend getting yourself a copy before they disappear. I’m sure this album will be on repeat for a long time to come.
Paper Relics are Harry and Stuart Towell
Tracks were written, produced and recorded by Harry and Stuart Towell with additional sound mixing and orchestration by Sven Laux
Stuart Towell: Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, eBow, Bass
Harry Towell: Acoustic Guitar, Voice, Violin, Harmonica, Zither, Electronics, Sampling, Field Recordings, Tapeloop
Mastered by James Armstrong
Artwork by Harry Towell