Album Review: Paper Tongues

The Paper Tongues eclectic style and well-worn lyrics produces a sound that could appeal to a wide variety of listeners. Within the range of techniques that span the album from electric-pop to rock-n- roll/rap, the group continually conveys a message of hope and healing. Out of Charlotte, North Carolina the Paper Tongues went from playing on the streets for the homeless to American Idol judge, Randy Jackson producing their self-titled debut album that dropped March 30, 2010.

The first track “Ride to California” bounces between the gruff, spoken-word lyrics of lead singer Aswan North and the chorus of his six piece band. The song was inspired by their efforts to raise money, funding a trip out west in an effort to sign a recording contract. Once they made it to Los Angeles, North saw Randy Jackson randomly in a diner and gave him his number and the Paper Tongues’ Myspace page. Hours later, Randy called them and their career began with Randy producing and managing their record label under A&M/Octone Records.

Their second hit single, “Trinity,” switches to an electronic aesthetic that shows how the band’s large ensemble brings a variety of influences. Enhancing the vibe with an array of backgrounds and specific skills are Devin Forbes and Joey Signa on guitar, Daniel Santell on bass, Jordan Hardee on drums, and Clayton Simon on Synthesizer and Cody Blackler on Rhode keys. Although the sound may change, the message is always positive and geared towards real people and real audiences. Their fame may be fueled by online media, but their real passion is performing live, which could bring an intimacy to the band’s emotional lyrics. However, no matter what genre this elaborate group contrives to, the Paper Tongues are easy listening from the dance hall to the couch in the living room.

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