Snout To The Grindstone

“The words ‘anti folk’ seem more abused than a footballers wife right now. Having heard it banded about by so many lazy journos in the last few years, I’m going to put my neck on the line and say it here – this album contains significant amounts of Anti Folk. There, I said it. As it twists and turns and spouts more and more interesting instruments and with lyrics that grow more and more naïvely cynical, it grows itself into something not a million miles away from stuff Jeffrey Lewis would make, the key difference being that The Paraffins hold in there that Fujia and Miyagi funk to boot.

It would be wrong to just lump this in as another bloody variation of The Mouldy Peaches because it’s quite clearly not. Where it loses its anti folk feel in the rhythm, it gains in funk (ergo, cool). This is maybe a bridge between slow 70s inspired rock and modern day anti folk and fun. It has that low, pulsing tempo, but also that slight zanyness, not an off-putting, right out there, Darwin Deez zaniness, but the zaniness that means you like adding odd instruments, enjoy not keeping to song structures, and wear cardigans in bright colours. It’s nice, it’s fun.

Particular highlights include the raucous opening in ‘Untitleable’, the pulsing beat and guitar of ‘Walled City’ (which, coincidentally, is one of the most infectious songs I’ve heard in the last month), and the entropic cacophony of ‘People Like You’, complete with its phone-near-an-amp feedback and riotous sound. Having said that, there isn’t a weak track on this album.

I think the only criticism of this album I would have is its lack of anything really different. Don’t get me wrong – the last thing this album is is Samey, but there aren’t any times that they try anything really different to what they’re comfortable with. The sound they’ve got is great, but it is just that one sound through the entire album.

So while this is a good album, it’s not a great one. That’s not a criticism; I would not say that this isn’t worth it because it’s not life changing. I would say go out and buy it. It’s not challenging or life changing, but it’s an album that catches you and makes you play it again and again.” 7/10 James Canham, Ark Magazine



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