Where Papercuts' previous album You Can Have What You Want was as sleepily intimate as a long winter’s nap, the aptly named Fading Parade is as big and bright and misty as spring kicking in. Main Papercuts man Jason Quever worked with his touring band and producer Thom Monahan on these songs, which are ripe with lush touches like “Do What You Will”'s autoharps and the dense organ melody on “I’ll See You Later I Guess,” a piece of chamber pop that rivals Beach House for baroque moodiness. At times, the very bigness of Fading Parade's sound nearly overwhelms Quever's wisp of a voice, but his songwriting is as strong as ever; “Wait Till I’m Dead” feels like a classic pop song that’s been in hiding for a few decades. Quever also capitalizes on the lessons learned on one of You Can Have What You Want's highlights, the Zombies-meets-Phil Spector gem “Future Primitive.” He expands on this sense of drama throughout Fading Parade, whether it’s the surprising high notes he hits on the bewitching lullaby “Winter Daze” or the way the gorgeous strings of “White Are the Waves” make it sound like the theme song to some long-lost late-‘60s drama. “Chills,” meanwhile, is the psych-pop epic -- complete with a Mellotron solo! -- that Quever has been threatening to write for years. Despite the album's bigger and brighter approach, Papercuts are still past masters at finding the cloud around the silver lining. The album is bookended by tracks that celebrate the pleasures of love and illusion (the gorgeous “Do You Really Wanna Know”) and waking from those dreams and starting over (“Charades,” on which Quever sings “the visions of the past have gone”), but, as with all Papercuts songs, they take time to reveal themselves fully. Fading Parade might be subtle, but it’s obviously another step forward for Quever and company.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares