Paper Castles put out their first project, Bleating Heart, in 2011. Their second, Vague Era, came in 2013. Now, they're fresh off the release of their newest record, Acceptionalism. The group's sound is always evolving, but usually somewhere within the realm of indie-rock, the songs fading from quiet and precise to noisy and ambient. The four-piece consists of Liz Stafford (bass), Brennan Mangan (drums), Wren Kitz (guitar), and is headed up by it's lead guitarist, singer, and songwriter, Paddy Reagan.
This new record runs for eight tracks, most of it's songs markedly shorter than Paper Castles two previous albums, the songs leaning a bit harder now on tight writing and identifiable riffs . The title, Acceptionalism, is of course, a play on words, questioning the concept of "exceptional" -- looking for the beauty and the power in what Paddy calls "The Inbetweens." Moving from track to track, you'll feel that theme being continually circled. The lyrics, precisely crafted and delivered quietly, don't exactly take a stance on anything in specific, seemingly just interested in observing -- in pointing out small moments of loneliness, love, hypocrisy, creativity... "[It's] about growing up, losing your virginity, being alone in a crowd, aging out, and getting over it." writes Paddy in the album bio.
Watching Paper Castles perform live is special. You'll come in from the back, and the band is all looking down, lost in their sound. Paddy mostly sings with his eyes closed, Wren working carefully at his guitar or loop pedals, Liz with her head hung, plucking away at the bass lines. Brennan follows along behind on drums, occasionally craning towards his mic to layer in vocals. The songs will run in and out, and the band will keep pushing through, checking in with each other quietly during the pauses. It's immediately clear that they all care immensely about the music that they're making, and in that moment, not much else. Listening to their show, or their most recent album, it feels like Paddy and the band have a lot to say, a lot to make, and they're really just interested in doing exactly that.
Find them at their Record Release Show at ArtsRiot in Burlington, VT this Thursday 4/19
Watch the three songs from the session we shot with them below.