Brand New Eyes

Written by: DR on 30/09/2009 00:11:55

If you ever needed proof as to the power of the single, you don't need to look any further than Paramore. Their debut "All We Know Is Falling" (released on my birthday, coincidentally) promised a bright future, they played the infamous Warped Tour either side of its release, and went on to support the likes of Bayside, Amber Pacific and The Rocket Summer. In the space of just over a year after the release of their debut, their name had spread like wildfire and the British press (Kerrang I'm looking at you), uncharacteristically so, began hyping them up, which led to a UK headline tour. Shortly after this tour, the band began working on a second album. Not at all bad for a band who didn't, at the time, have a single member out of their teenage years. Which brings me back to my original point; the single, that single - "Misery Business". It achieved Platinum status in the US alone, it was plastered all over the radio and television waves; you could not go anywhere without hearing it. Paramore, overnight, transformed from a credible rock band into the latest teenybopper fad.

The name "Paramore" was suddenly one everybody knew, their shows were packed out with girls who, when queuing, listened to sickening songs like "Girlfriend". Regardless of how good the performance the band put on, I still felt a bit... out of place. My apologies if this review seems a tad personal, but I doubt anyone could see one of their favourite bands take such a turn and not be annoyed.

Maybe the fact I paid "Riot!" little mind and held it in such low regard actually helped me when listening to "Brand New Eyes". I had absolutely no expectations or excitement for this album, despite shotgunning the review of it and counting down the days until it's release. I merely anticipated it would be in the same vein as its predecessor, and represent another nail in my Paramore coffin.

I'm already three paragraphs in, so I'll get straight to the point: "Brand New Eyes" is superb. A genuine album of the year. Paramore now sound far more mature, stronger, consistent and ultimately, a much better band. Everything about them has improved. Hayley's vocals are more powerful, and she now boasts a more impressive range, whether it be the angry performance in "Ignorance" or the soft, gentle, dulcet performance in "Misguided Ghosts". Her lyrics, too, show tremendous growth, one particular gem from "Playing God" springs to mind:

If God's the game you're playing, then we must get more acquainted,

It must be so lonely, to be the only one who's holy.

It's just my humble opinion, but one I firmly believe in

You don't deserve a point of view, if the only thing you see is you."

What about the rest of the band? Well, make no bones about it, previously, Paramore was the Hayley Williams show. Girls wanted to be her, guys wanted to be in her. The drummer has always been pretty nifty, and the guitarists do some lame cartwheel-cum-somersault thing when performing live, but they never really came close to matching Miss. Williams. They definitely stand up and demand to be counted here, Paramore fangirls aside, you may even bother to learn their names.

The opener "Careful" delivers a convincing performance as the best Paramore song to date (I have full confidence in Time's ability to prove me right), it combines raw aggression with that pop-punk catchiness, a style that could set Paramore apart from the rest of the genre (even more so) in future years. On previous releases, they never quite managed to pull the slower songs off, however, "The Only Exception" and "Misguided Ghosts" are two of the strongest tracks on this record, though largely acoustic efforts, they are peaceful and pretty, offering well-placed yet scarcely needed breaks from all the energetic goodness that surrounds them. "Where The Lines Overlap" is the first song in the entire Paramore discography that Hayley and Josh (guitars) wrote entirely together, in fact, they recorded it within the same day they wrote it, and though it's not technically extravagant, it's upbeat, so damn catchy and does boast that fresh 'of the moment' feel which only adds to it's endearment.

This review has dragged on long enough, but I could honestly talk your ear off discussing this album. It shows progression and growth, a more dynamic sound without compromising any of that infectiousness that shot Paramore to mainstream fame in the first place. Paramore, publicly so, were close to a break-up last year, which springs this quote to mind: "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." And my oh my, how Paramore have risen.

Download: Careful, All I Wanted, The Only Exception, Misguided Ghosts
For the fans of: Hey Monday, Cartel, Automatic Loveletter
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 28.09.2009
Fueled By Ramen

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