Release Date: May 26, 2009
Record label: Redeye
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Experimental
The Paper Chase have always revelled in their own sinister side. I say “side” as if there is a hidden underbelly of sunshine, but there is scant light to balance out the caustic shadow cast by the dead bodies, dead relationships, and death threats that have haunted the band’s four previous studio albums. We are talking John Congleton, after all; a songwriter whose most tender moments come armed with cannibalistic declarations like “I want your head / I want your wicked parts / I want to wring out your evil thoughts / I want to eat out your bitter heart”.
We've been assured the Paper Chase's Someday This Could All Be Yours is a simpler, if not necessarily kinder record from them: ten songs, no interludes, no interstitial chit-chat. But this is a band with a sense of humor so dark it can make Xiu Xiu look like Fountains of Wayne. So, sure, it's probably the Paper Chase's most typically digestible work; it's also an exploration of humankind's futile attempts to manage itself in the face of catastrophe set to erratic squall, equal parts delirium and stone-cold sobriety.
I'll say this about John Cogleton: The guy sure does go for it. All five of his albums to date with the Paper Chase have never been short on emotion or dramatics. His band's patchwork industro-rock sound is big and histrionic and, when done right, damn appealing. But what makes his paranoid tales of depravity and longing work best, as they did on God Bless Your Black Heart, when Cogleton has honed his venom-tipped spears and caught someone specific in his cross-hairs.
The Paper Chase play muscular, lumbering indie rock that practically sounds as if it were nailed together, crash by crash. Their fourth album, Someday This Could All Be Yours, takes natural disasters as its theme, but the music rarely gets away from the Texas band’s four members – rather than identifying with chaos, it sounds like they are weathering a hurricane from within a house, the windows all boarded up. Vocalist John Congleton’s voice stands in for a kind of loss of control the music only brushes against.