Ever since Khaela Maricich teamed up with Jona Bechtolt for the Poor Aim: Love Songs EP, the Blow's avant-pop leanings have been refined with more structure, more rhythm, and more hooks, resulting in a sound that, interestingly, is more forward-thinking than the group's more concentratedly experimental early work. Paper Television goes even further in this direction, marrying Maricich's charismatic vocals with beats and arrangements inspired by mainstream and urban pop. This bold juxtaposition of sounds pays off more often than not, particularly on Paper Television's first two songs. "Pile of Gold" pairs Maricich's sassy rap-singing with slinky, stuttering rhythms, while "Parentheses" boasts a fantastic chorus and production so bright and immediate that even if the song isn't played on mainstream radio, it certainly could be. However, the daring that makes Paper Television's best moments so unique also leads to some experiments that aren't as successful: "The Long List of Girls" is kinetic, but its beats feel a little contrived and end up stifling Maricich's singing. The glitchy girl-group pop of "Babay (Eat a Critter, Feel Its Wrath)," which likens the end of a bad relationship to being digested and excreted, is original, but also a lot odder than the songs surrounding it, and ends up detracting from Paper Television's flow. Still, the album has more uniquely great moments like the danceable, philosophical breakup song "Fists Up" and witty final ballad "True Affection," than uniquely awkward ones. Even with its subverted mainstream pop productions, the Blow is still very indie pop and very K-sounding; they're just not trapped in any preconceptions of what that means. Paper Television is exciting and accomplished, the album where the Blow goes from being interesting to being addictive.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares