Since the break up of Lower Than Atlantis last year, guitarist Ben Samson has wasted no time in a new outlet by forming a fresh outfit, Paper Mill.
It’s a project which sees him teaming up with his brother Luke on bass, and Matt Rider of The Holiday Plan (and has also guested on some Lower Than Atlantis tracks) on vocals/guitars. Now, they introduce themselves with the release of their debut EP, ‘Past The West Way’.
Opening things up, ‘Bruce’ packs a punch from the get-go. The track feels relatable, surrounding the topic of how the world needs to work together as opposed to against one another, with lyrics such as “Nobody wins unless we all win / Is this the kind of new world you were dreaming of you want to give your children?”, creating thought-provoking reflection of the current times we’re living in perfectly.
This soon transitions into standout track, ‘Get Real’, which offers up a real sense of nostalgia. Musically it conjures up the British pop-rock sound that was making waves in the early 2010s, with bands such as Deaf Havana and Kids In Glass Houses. It has a level of maturity surrounding the reality of having to grow up, which will be a hit with older fans, whilst counterbalancing itself perfectly with catchy sing-along lyrics that are easy to envision becoming a hit at live shows.
Slowing the pace down is the beautifully stripped back ‘Lock And Key’. The track mostly showcases Rider‘s vocals in a spoken word style performance, allowing us to get fully invest in the emotional story that’s being told. At times it’s an uncomfortable yet extremely open and vulnerable song.
With the demise of Lower Than Atlantis still relatively fresh, it would be easy to assume Paper Mill could be almost be LTA 2.0. There are moments where you can sense that vibe, such as Ben‘s solo in ‘Black Mirror’ with its distorted, heavier sound, but given his unique way of playing, it was inevitable there would be mild similarities. Still, at no point does it distract from what Paper Mill are all about.
‘Standing On The Edge’ switches things up with a gritter, heavier sound, with Rider seriously stretching his vocals to create an incredibly melodic anthemic ending. It would’ve been interesting to have heard a bit more of this on the EP, but it’s definitely something that could well be built upon in future records.
For a band who only really formed a year ago, it’s safe to say that ‘Past The West Way’ is an impressive debut, an attribute to the evidently impressive working relationship that this trio have. Each of the six tracks offer up something a little different whilst still leaves you wanting more. It’ll be exciting to see what the future holds for Paper Mill.