PAWS - Cokefloat!
After teasing us with single releases, EPs and the 'PAWS Vol' series (on their own Cath Records), PAWS are finally releasing their debut album Cokefloat! on FatCat Records - but is their self-dubbed "infectious, lo-fi, garage pop-rock" actually any good? In a word, yes. It's fucking brilliant, though for some messed up reason they've been compared to Biffy Clyro. My guess as to why is due to their shared nationality, because really, that's where any similarity ends. If anything Cokefloat! would slot nicely between Yuck and Best Coast.
The album weaves through stories of loss, love and uncertainty, and though it's full of grungy guitars and heavy riffs, it's far from angry or depressing. "All of the lyrics are pretty much a documentation of the past 2 years. A lot of crazy things have happened in our lives; some good, some horrific. I'd like to say that there is a strong feeling of positivity and hope running throughout this record, light piercing through some distinctly dark times. We're playing in this band to keep going and stay alive" says frontman Phil Taylor. This very description describes the first song of the album perfectly- 'Catherine 1956' opens Cokefloat! which describes the loss of Taylor's mother. Immediately a song about death warrants thoughts of melancholy and gloom, yet, as Taylor describes, there's strangely a feeling of positivity- strictly no wallowing here.
The other song which relates to the death of his mother is the heavy, punk-rock 'Bloodline' in which he almost screams "I know you'll never die, I've got your nose and I've got your eyes"; it represents a forward move from the band's earlier material, it's thrashier and more powerful. Both 'bloodline', 'Miss American Bookworm' and 'Get Bent' display the growing maturity of PAWS, whereas 'Homecoming' and 'Pony' showcase the band's more lo-fi side.
'Pony' alternates between mellow vocals powerful guitar solos, and proves to contain the most droll lyrics of the record, including "Hey there little pony(/uni) girl... does Daddy still pay your rent to keep you underground?" and "Mother keeps you sweet, what is there to cry about?"
Though every song offers something different, whether it be in terms of heavier percussion and guitar, poignant or funny lyrics or mellow versions of their 90s sounding pop rock, one definite highlight of album comes in the form of 'Sore Tummy'. Some may argue that I'm biased as I am a self-confessed fan girl for Big Deal, but I was unaware that the female vocals on this track were from Alice Costelloe (bad fan girl alert). The vocals are subtle, yet have a big effect; they coalesce well with Taylor's lazy (in a good way) voice, almost adding a 'freshening' to the track; they juxtapose well with the raucous guitar.
Basically, this whole album is terrific. All I can say to PAWS is - don't leave us waiting so long for another one, okay?