Light

Paperboat

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

With a couple of songs from a 7" single making a reappearance, Paperboat is otherwise a fine collection of tracks recorded over several years by Mercer. As a follow-up to the excellent Turning, Paperboat does a great job at both extending the special glow of that album and including some new twists and turns. There's even more work done on the production, with more space and silence at many points, while what sounds like a violin part on "Back of Your Mill" adds a queasy flow to the proceedings. In interesting contrast, elsewhere the guitar work has never been clearer, with some pretty coruscating work on Mercer's part ripping bodily out of the speakers as a result. The lengthy opener "Dissonance Longs, for Peace," with its chopped-up swathes of feedback and massive, extensive soloing, has more of a barreling intensity than anything on Turning, for instance, though in exchange the Flying Saucer Attack comparisons have never been clearer. There's not a thing wrong with the end results, though, while equally rampaging songs like "Last Night, for the Stars" are offset by calmer but no-less-rich efforts as "Kes," a particularly lovely number, and the immediately following "Ode to Hardship," the first straight-up folk effort (vocals, acoustic guitar, only a slight feedback overdub) recorded by Light. Another majestic highlight is the shimmering, fragile start to "Place Without Reason," feedback turned into a haunting, ethereal string section from who knows where. Mercer's vocals, when present, at times convey a purring, careful threat; "Provisions," with his distorted, heavily echoed words shooting out over a steady music punch that suddenly ratchets up to a faster speed two minutes in, makes for one of the most violent recordings from the Bristol scene.