Paper Birch – Summer Daze (TakuRoku)

Paper Birch – Summer Daze (TakuRoku)

Collaborative project Paper Birch from Urusei Yatsura’s Fergus Lawrie and NEUMES/ An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump’s Dee Sada has released a debut album on Cafe Oto imprint TakuRoku.

Paper BirchArtist: Paper Birch
Track: Summer Daze
Label: TakuRoku
Released: 5 August 2020
Find it: YouTube

Starting in a discordant squall of howling guitar Summer Daze from collaborative duo Paper Birch has all the humming heat and brightness of a lazy day, while keeping the ominous threat of storm clouds blowing in from the horizon.

Formed by Urusei Yatsura’s Fergus Lawrie and Dee Sada of NEUMES and An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump the track, which comes from album MORNINGHAIRWATER, was born from a fervent correspondence of words, music, and ideas during lockdown with the resulting record a reflection of the ‘despair, fragility and hope’ the two shared.

With arty noise rock heritage running through both of them there’s no surprise – but plenty of delight – at the crunch and edge to the guitars matched to softer melody, and the spiralling refrains. The track sits perfectly balanced on a high-wire of being an uncomfortable listen, as if at any moment the calm vocal could be swept up by the dissonant melody causing the whole thing to break down. It stays poised, enough challenge in its component parts as it sinks into you, as familiar as a silvered scar, comfort in the memory of discomfort.

‘The people I see / Aren’t the people I need’

Opening the album there is plenty of Summer Daze‘s scud and scuzz scattered through the rest of the record, but it’s paired with pop sensibilities, gently twinned vocal harmonies. It’s coy odes to love, to loss, and better days shot through with hope and soul set to experimental beats and electronic glitches, and the most melodious guitar sweeping in and out in a way which makes its presence wonderfully felt even in the spaces. Shoegazey, indiepoppish, noise rocking this album draws not only on the influence on both Lawrie and Sada’s own back catalogues but which at times echoes with everything from Heavenly to Joy Division. For a record so quickly conceived and released it may well be a contender for album of the year.

Summer Daze, taken from album MORNINGHAIRWATER, is out now on new Cafe Oto imprint TakuRoku. The digital label has been set up in response to the effects of the pandemic on the East London venue as well as on music more widely, they said, “as well as providing an outlet for some incredible new work being created over the past few weeks, TakuRoku aims to provide a way to help sustain both Cafe Oto and the artists involved through these incredibly challenging times.”

Find Paper Birch: Twitter | Website

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Sarah Lay

Sarah Lay is editor of Popoptica.
A long-standing music journalist she's also co-founder of independent record label Reckless Yes, an author of novels, and when not messing around with words and music, a digital strategist.
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