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Paper Cranes - Album Review: Voices

19 Dec 2018 // A review by butch181

Due for release January 18, 2019, Voices is the second full-length album from Indie Folk duo Paper Cranes. While comprised of ten tracks, the album has a short overall runtime of just over 35 minutes.

Opening with The Line, the instrumentals are so minimal and delicate that there is nothing for Fraser and Naomi Browne to hide behind, with regards to their own voices. While the folk genre has a lot of focus on the vocal narrative, Paper Cranes has much more emphasis on the melodious nature of the lyrics, which are often more metaphorical than straight storytelling. With well-placed confidence, Fraser has no qualms about using the full range of his voice creating a wide array of harmonies with partner, Naomi.

Alive is potentially the standout track of the album. Almost coming across like the theme song of an old-school 80’s game show or sitcom, they display some exquisite harmonies. It is rare that I come across an album with such little emphasis placed on the instrumentation. Minimal in its execution, there are some lovely accents and ambient backdrops as the track slowly gathers in speed and volume, building up the presence of the instruments until it reaches something akin to the pop-rock genre.

Each track comes with its own specific feel, whether it be the Indie vibe of Midsummer, with more traditional rock band instruments, or the innate sense of innocence imbued by Heartbeat, doing away with societal norms of what vocal expressions are expected of the male and female forms. Heartbeat is unabashedly frank, using all parts of the spectrum of vocal range to create the melody they want; freeing and daring at the same time.

With traditional woodwind instruments and well-placed piano pieces, there is a comfortable and serene atmosphere surrounding this release. A chemistry that alludes to Fraser and Naomi not performing to their listeners but crooning and serenading each other; magnificent harmonies that feed off of each other. Despite the more upbeat tone compared to their debut album The Road Home, Voices is unhurried, and with practically no drumming on the entire release, it meanders playfully, making use of silence. The general focus on the higher end of the vocal melodies with frequent melodies, do give a grand feel, almost theatrical, or like that of a hymn. Designed with a large choir in mind.

Haunting, iridescent, melancholic, congenial, Paper Cranes evoke a multitude of emotions in a short span of time. An unexpectedly stark release. Open and unrestricted, Voices is a spiritual unleashing of ideas.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Paper Cranes

With songs that ponder the meaning of life, love, and our fleeting existence in this beautiful world, Paper Cranes' music is warm, yet melancholy.

Paper Cranes weave their stories into captivating and dynamic live performances in songs that move between delicacy and outright abandon.

Husband-and-wife team Fraser and Naomi Browne are the driving force behind the group, and the music shows touches of their upbringing, a mixture of Japanese, Swedish, Australia and NZ. The band's music delves into themes of togetherness and relationships, the echoes that pull us together and send us apart. In its darkness and lightness, Voices is about doubt and freedom, the changing seasons, the decisions that lead us, the lies we’re told and the search for truth, while The Road Home explores themes of healing and recovery, and how each journey can lead us to unexpected yet welcome change.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Paper Cranes


Year: 2019
Type: Album
The Road Home
Year: 2015
Type: Album
Oh, Love!
Year: 2012
Type: EP

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