Paper Holland | Galapagos

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Pop: Pop/Rock Pop: Jangle Pop Moods: Mood: Fun
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by Paper Holland

Drawing from the pop sensibility of acts like Death Cab For Cutie, the sparkling guitars of the Cure and the mild experimentalism of Tame Impala, Paper Holland create rhythmic and driving music with elegant horn arrangements, memorable hooks and skillful musicianship.
Genre: Pop: Pop/Rock
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Arrival
1:29 $0.99
2. Sea [Sic]
3:23 $0.99
3. Think
3:31 $0.99
4. Milpool
3:12 $0.99
5. Million Eyes
4:02 $0.99
6. Don't Go Now
5:01 $0.99
7. The Humble Current
0:43 $0.99
8. Darwinian Age
3:42 $0.99
9. You're Not There
4:21 $0.99
10. Slouches
4:12 $0.99
11. Silver Lines
3:16 $0.99
12. Back to the Sea
4:05 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Galápagos is the second full length album from Milwaukee’s Paper Holland, set for release on June 1, 2018. Since their debut in 2012, the band has slowly built up a following in the Midwest and beyond, finding fans in people like NPR’s Stephen Thompson. Coming off of a brief but successful promotional cycle for 2016’s Fast Food EP, Paper Holland began work on what would become their second full length.

“When we were starting to work on this record [after the 2016 election], it really felt like everything changed” says singer and guitarist Joe Tomcheck. “It no longer felt right to just write a carefree summer kind of record. It’s more about engaging now than it is about escapism, with the ultimate idea being that you can’t escape forever and eventually have to face reality. What started off as a beachy pop record was really shaped by both the socio-political climate of our country and other personal issues that we were going through at the time of us creating it”.

While the band’s intense focus on writing hook heavy guitar pop hasn’t waned, Galápagos is a leap forward in the band’s identity, recalling the washed out and jangly guitars of acts like The Cure, The Stone Roses and The Smiths. “Sea [Sic]”, the album’s proper opening track, lays the groundwork for the unifying aesthetic and mood of Galápagos; clear hooks, dense arrangements and a strong island-heavy aesthetic. While the album’s introductory track gives a listener a fine introduction to the next 40 minutes of music, the tracks that follow find the band exploring new sonic territory, due in part to the addition of saxophonist Sean Hirthe and multi-instrumentalist Glenn McCormick. Hirthe and McCormick bring an added level of variety and sophistication to Paper Holland that the band has continued to build on since their inception.

“Glenn and Sean draw on influences that a lot of us don’t and have a great ear for composition.” says Tomcheck. “I can’t say enough about what they’ve brought to the band”.

A shining example of this is “Milpool”, the lush ballad (named after a Simpsons reference, no less) that recalls later era Lennon-McCartney with its stacked harmonies and bombastic chorus. While the band has never been shy about their love of the Fab Four, “Milpool” was built around a jam started by McCormick. The new members have also contributed a sense of willingness to try anything once with the group, and while this feeling of adventure is present throughout Galápagos’ entirety, “Milpool” showcases this quality with excellence. This isn’t to discredit the work of the band’s rhythm section, though. “Milpool” finds bassist Mark Yencheske and drummer Ted Powers serving the song with an understated but strong rhythmic foundation; one of the many instances of such on Galápagos.

While Happy Belated was an impressive debut and Fast Food a sign of things to come, Galápagos is as familiar as it is new, showing the band’s maturity and development since their last offering. Lead single “Don’t Go Now” is sure to please the band’s existing fanbase while intriguing new listeners all at once. The breezy and harmony-dense chorus is a memorable one, sounding like the Paper Holland of years passed, albeit with an increased sense of focus and confidence.

Engineered and co-produced by Josh Evert of The Fatty Acids at Silver City Studios, Galápagos is the sound of Paper Holland taking the time to craft an album that feels like a cohesive and completed thought. While the band’s newfound approach helped shape Galápagos into the album it eventually became, Evert’s involvement proved to be an equally inspiring new addition to the music making process.

“We’ve been huge fans of Josh’s work for years, and having him involved has played a huge role in us being able to fully shape these songs” says Tomcheck. “A lot of sculpting and refining happened in the studio” adds lead guitarist Andy Kosanke. “Josh helped so much with dialing in tones and effects in ways we would have never even considered”

The album’s beachy and tropical aesthetic lead the band to its title, though when asked about it, there’s more to it than one may realize. “When you talk about Galápagos, you have to talk about Darwin and evolution” says Tomcheck. “Coupling that with the band’s evolution and progression, it just seemed to be a perfect title”

Galápagos is also noteworthy in that it’s the first Paper Holland release to feature lead vocals from founding member and lead guitarist Andy Kosanke. Though integral in the writing process from the beginning, Galápagos finds Kosanke contributing vocals to a handful of the album’s 12 tracks, including two with Kosanke taking the lead for the first time in the band’s history.

“‘Slouches’ and ‘Silver Lines’ were two of the first songs written for Galápagos and they sat as instrumentals for a while” says Kosanke. “While they sat, I realized that they could be good outlets for some things that had been weighing on me, so I decided to write lyrics.” By the time the lyrics for the two songs were complete, Kosanke had made more vocal contributions to the album than he had in the past, prompting him to ultimately sing lead on both tracks. “The growing sense of collaboration and willingness to try new things on this record was the push that I needed to present the lyrics and record them myself” says Kosanke.

Galápagos is an album made for summer evenings, conjuring up images of moonscapes, night swimming and a place far removed from the city that birthed it. It’s an invitation to take escape, even just temporarily, into a world crafted specifically for its listener. At its heart, though, Galápagos is a pop record, filled with hooks and layers that will reveal themselves to anyone who chooses to listen. Galápagos awaits; the question is, do you want to go?



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