JOHAN SAAYMAN

After almost four years since their last album and the departure of two of the cofounders (Josh and Zac Farro), American rock band Paramore has returned with their new self-titled album.

If you expected another Brand New Eyes all-round masterpiece, this isn’t it – but the band must be commended on the versatility they attempted to bring to the new album. The sound still seems experimental and unsure, but it keeps the tracks unpredictable.

Although the sound evolved, lyrically it’s the same old anarchistic, pessimistic and love-hating Paramore we know and love. Well-known lead vocalist Hayley Williams returns with her dynamic voice, luring the listener through the course of the verses, building the anticipation and then exploding into belted choruses.

Evidence of her vocal variance features clearly in the opening track, “Fast In My Car”, which has Williams pleading: “Hollowed out and filled up with hate / All we want is you to give us a break” in the bridge and giving it her all during the chorus. This track certainly has anthem potential, but until it is released to mainstream circulation, it will most likely sit silently in the shadow of the singles.

“Now”, the second track on the album, was released in January as the first single from the album. It received acclaim both from critics and the public. Chart­­-wise, the song peaked at number two on the UK Rock chart. “Still Into You” was released in March, once again storming the charts and having critics spill approval. The single also peaked on UK Rock’s number two position, while Alternative Press claimed “There’s no question that this is still Paramore, only it’s better.”

Other notable songs include “Part II”  a track perfectly combining deep lyrics, prominent guitar and supporting drums.

Then there’s the solacing ballad “Hate To See Your Heart Break”, which functions as the well-placed thirteenth track to prevent the listener from getting exhausted by the relentlessly loud and fast-paced songs throughout the rest of the album.

However, in the presence of great songs, there are a few that sound neglected. Especially the last song on the album, “Future”, having only muttered vocals and a few basic instruments for the first three minutes and then suddenly crashing into a guitar solo, fading to a false end and fading back into another minute of guitar solo. There are three unnecessary interludes, all of them being only Williams singing uninspired lyrics, accompanied only by a ukulele.

Despite the hiccups Paramore had during this album, it’s clear that the remaining members can very well stand their own ground without the Farro brothers. The confusion might seep through in their current material, but Paramore will soon enough find their feet and once again produce music that fans can enjoy without quandary. This album in particular isn’t enough to have people rushing to the nearest CD store, but with such potential, they will get there – hopefully soon.

RATING: 7/10

Image: www.glogster.com

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