Youth Culture Forever

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Around this time 2 years ago, PAWS were making an incredibly favourable first impression with their Misled Youth EP, shortly followed in autumn 2012 by the brilliant debut album Cokefloat. Like many before them they’ve toured and toured, seen the world, and found the hours somewhere to write and record this latest little bundle of wonder, Youth Culture Forever. You might think giving the game away inside a couple of sentences is poor reviewing etiquette, but if nothing else it should be seen as tribute to the immediate impact of the new album – PAWS aren’t messing around in getting to the point, so why should we. Much of what made the debut so refreshing remains – the deliberate sense of lyrical naivety, the effortless left of centre melodies, the hooks and noisy punches all return for much much more, whilst one noticeable change perhaps, is in the way the slow and quiet numbers have ditched that twee stoner thing that was going on before and allowed some serious darkness and wholehearted feeling to set-in. Darkness itself might set much of the tone of the LP – understandably so on what would seem largely to be a straight-up break-up record – but that’s not to devalue the practice of catharsis through album-making, we’ve all been there, and that’s why we’ll always love a record that lays it all out bare like YCF does. What ultimately sets this one apart though, and what makes PAWS such a joy to listen to is the melodicism of it all – there’s an unabashed, unadulterated way about the music they make, no cynicism, just that sense of freedom which comes before cynicism kicks-in – for anyone of a certain age, it’ll instantly transport you back to the teenage you, and for anyone younger, PAWS might well be the band you’ll occasionally put on ten or twenty years from now for a cheeky nostalgic reminisce – of course they might mean more than that to you already, and there’s no doubting they have the ability to do something else equally brilliant (maybe better) next – but as any good break-up album really tells us, it’s best to enjoy what you’ve got whilst you’ve got it, so best play this one to death… and do it loud!

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