“Who You Were” is a CD that I’ve been sitting on for quite some time because through these intricate layers of music comes a sound that could easily be identified by those not willing to give it 100%, but if you really do listen closely enough and pick apart it is simply not that simple.
On the surface, and perhaps for many other reviewers who are lazier than me, Paper Hill Casket Company has a sound of folk and Americana music. It’s what the kids down south like to call acoustic with all the fixings. Most people could/would simply write this off as being in the same genre as Mumford & Sons, that folk revival type sound, but that simply isn’t the case.
The hardest part I had with reviewing this CD was that I knew in my head what made sense, but I also knew that if I tried to explain to everyone else it probably wouldn’t make sense to them. Many years ago, when I still lived in Connecticut the first time, I got the chance to interview the band Streetlight Manifesto.
Now without getting on a huge rant about them, they had just released their first album and I mentioned to them that they had more of a rock n roll sound to their music than a ska sound, even though most people would simply write them off as ska (and not always in a bad way)
So I feel like PHCC is to the folk revival what SLM is to ska. The ingredients are there for people to mistake this as such, but on the whole it really doesn’t fall in the same pile as all those many, many other bands who have come out on the heels of Mumford and are trying to score a hit.
There is a bunch of folk punk in here as well, or as I more fittingly like to call it anti-folk. And then there is just the good old fashioned rock n roll because appearances can be deceiving. Just because they have right instruments, doesn’t mean they’re playing the sound that you’d assume.