Tuesday, 15 February, 2022 in Music

Into EP Review: Paul Research – The Silent Treatment

Artist: Paul Research
Album: The Silent Treatment

After last years terrific Skate the Royal Mile album I was delighted that a new 5 track EP was imminent.

Much like the preceding album, you are immediately struck by the diversity and range of styles, not just over the duration of the EP but over each track. Each song has as many ideas flowing over their duration than most albums have in their entirety. Opener Twist of the Night for example starts by bringing you into a glittery world of a mid 60s British Spy soundtrack, full of brass orchestra stabs before taking you on a detour through drum and bass, underpinning some superb, Glam treated guitar. The vocals are reminiscent of a dark, alternative universe sung by a Post-Punk Petula Clark which would make for a fantastic alternative soundtrack to Edgar Wright’s ‘Last Night in Soho’.

Christiana shifts pace, with what feels like a marvellous slow-moving Morricone tint of treated harpsichords and the majestic operatic vocals of the still mysterious James. The disparate sounds and styles of the record are expertly held together with the distinctive and unique guitar sound that is such a prominent and welcome feature of Paul’s work. A lesser set of recordings could be seen as a jumble of ideas but they feel like an over-arcing theme here that works incredibly well thanks to that guitar supplying the needed consistency for it all to gel so well together.

Balancing Act has a lovely cinematic 80s European touch too, like a third act opener in a French thriller. The propulsive drum-beat helps take the album forward after the detour of Christiana.

The Silent Treatment is perhaps the most wonderful track on the EP. It feels like a film within itself; beginning with a 40s noir-ish piano motif that slowly builds to add in fills and rolls before the evocative vocals enter like a Hollywood femme-fatale. And like the structure of a classic era of filmmaking, more characters and voices enter before finishing in a beautiful crescendo, underlined by a simple but effective minimalist chord sequence reminiscent of John Cale’s most European and classical pieces.

Closer Andros is like the end credits to this imaginary movie and again we are transported to the world of 60s soundtracks. It’s perfect pop, in the classic sense.

This is an excellent collection of superbly sequenced songs that takes the listener into the very best moments of a mind movie. Anything resembling simplicity is reassuredly there for a reason, to lull a listener as this is an album full of complex arrangements, time signatures, timbres and rhythms. This does not feel like a record that is simply orchestrated in normal meanings of that word, more a record where the listener is carefully directed as if they are in a movie.

The Silent Treatment EP launched on 13 February and can be purchased directly from Paul here – https://paulresearch.co.uk/

Grant McPhee


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