Life Among the Savages
May 07, 2014 Web Exclusive
Given the hardships of Jason Quever's story so far, Life Among the Savages feels like an appropriate title for Papercuts' fourth studio recording. The San Francisco-born songwriter has always done things the hard way—sometimes by choice, sometimes by cruel twists of fate—and his latest LP suggests his struggles are unlikely to end any time soon.
While these nine reflective cuts are elegantly composed and executed with measured accomplishment, there's nothing easygoing about their subject matter. In fact, the painstaking arrangements of "Tourist" and "Family Portrait" are so internally absorbing it's a wonder they ever saw the light of day. Fortunately for us, they did.
Elsewhere, "Easter Morning" and the excellent title track are dreamy, luscious swells, swaying to the sound of shivering strings and brushed percussion. And Quever's own whispered croon brings about a coy, boyish quality to the softhearted charms of "Staring at the Bright Lights."
There's more than a tint of Galaxie 500 to each of these starry sweeps, and it's easy to see how Quever and Dean Wareham share a common melodic currency. Yet even the dream-pop luminary would concede to the remarkable percussive flourish of album capstone "New Body." It may be an uneasy listen on first spin, but Life Among the Savages brings about the kind of long-term pleasure its creator could only hope for. (www.papercutsmusic.tumblr.com)
Author rating: 7.5/10
Average reader rating: 10/10