Caesars

Paper Tigers

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AllMusic Review by

As the sticker on the album cover proclaims, the Caesars' fourth album (and second to receive U.S. distribution) Paper Tigers "features '"Jerk It Out"' as heard in the iPod Shuffle commercial." It's understandable that the band and Astralwerks want to capitalize on the song's success, but this is now the third Caesars' release to include it. "Jerk It Out" originally appeared on the band's 2002 album Love for the Streets, was collected on the 2003 comp 39 Minutes of Bliss (In an Otherwise Meaningless World), and now appears on this album as an extended remix. For better or worse, "Jerk It Out" remains the best song on all three of these albums; even though the remix of it dilutes the momentum that made people pay attention to the song in the first place, it still has more charisma than the rest of Paper Tigers. 39 Minutes of Bliss (In an Otherwise Meaningless World) suggested that the Caesars were becoming too polished and contained to really work as a garage rock-inspired outfit, and on this album the band ditches that sound -- save for a few spiky Farfisa organ riffs here and there -- for a lusher, poppier approach. Occasionally, as on the end-of-summer power ballad "Spirit" that begins Paper Tigers, this sound works, but more often than not, it ends up being ambitious but not distinctive. Songs such as "Out There," "May the Rain" and the aptly named "Throwaway" have pretty melodies and harmonies, but just aren't that memorable. Often, the intricate production ends up overpowering the album's weak songs (although the evocative, Mellotron-laden "Winter Song" comes close to a happy balance between sound and songwriting). "It's Not the Fall That Hurts" -- which keeps some of the hooky, nervy energy of "Jerk It Out" without being a blatant rewrite of that song -- and the cheery pop of "Soulchaser" are two of the too-few highlights on Paper Tigers. Ultimately, it's a flimsy album; though it's pleasant enough as background music, upon closer listening it falls apart.

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