Paper Pistols, the Sacramento, CA based duo of self-proclaimed “sound wizard” and drummer Ira Skinner and vocalist/songwriter Juliana Lydell, deliver a sound that perfectly befits their name on their debut, Deliver Us From Chemicals. It is a sound that is as light as a piece of a paper but often hits hard like a bullet from a pistol. In fact, the duo brands their sound as “filthy”.
Vocally, Lydell’s perfectly acrobatic vocals anchor the hard percussion on the disc’s tracks in a way that evokes a more earthbound Bjork. Musically, the sound on Chemicals settles into a downtempo beat-driven style that similarly recalls the trip-hop soundscapes that characterized the most famous work of Iceland’s finest. Yet, the barb-wired guitar accents and crunchy synths add a slightly more sinister, rock-ish edge. This juxtaposition makes for an appealingly genre-bending sound.
Lyrically, Chemicals brims with a pointed yet poetic sense of angst, disillusionment and self-realization. This is best exemplified by standout “Applied Silence”, when Lydell pleads “Before you get it down on a page/step right out of the story book, please” over Skinner’s backdrop of double time drums, pitched down industrial squeals and moody guitar and bass changes.
Deliver Us From Chemicals is a promising beginning chapter for a band that aims to create a sound that’ll lift you up from the ground–like a piece of paper blowing in the air—only to hit you hard while you’re stuck in your tracks—like a pistol.