After a three year disappearance from the studio Australian post hardcore band Paper Arms return and regrow with new record The Smoke Will Clear. And not just a regrowth of the band but for singer John Mann as a person following a tough break up with his wife, as he puts the past aside with a stunning verbal assault of an album as rehab.
With the heart touching emotion of The Gaslight Anthem and no thrills down right grittiness of I Am The Avalanche and Rise Against, Paper Arms would fit right into the wave of post hardcore bands flooding out of the suburbs of america at the moment.
‘Tanks of Dust’ kicks off the record in a fast, dirty and quite mesmerising setting. It gets you amped up for more abrasive chunks of tension putting expectations up sky high. Songs such as ’14 Days’ and ‘In Silence’ sound like therapy in its most punk form, three minutes long and aggressive to the point of breakdown. Mann goes on about the rise and fall of his marriage, yet this is no depressing lets cry into our glass of red wine record. It’s a celebration of personal triumph and the next few steps Mann has taken in his life and career. Paper Arms could quite easily follow the line of post-hardcore bands that are setting the world on fire based on emotion alone.
What is a shame is that apart from the opener, the album isn’t incredibly memorable, it never again quite reaches the unexpected heights of ‘Tanks of Dust’. ‘Lock Me In’ almost nails it with its close to home gang vocals and impassioned lyrics but it doesn’t take you on a journey you instantly wish to revisit.
The Smoke Will Clear is another solid effort from a thriving scene that helps put Australia into the mix of it. Paper Arms have certainly produced a blood spitting yet delicate album that will make heads turn to just a slight angle but still in the right way.