Review of Entering Pale Town Album by Paperplain

Review of Paperplain's album Entering Pale Town released through Destructible Records.

Paperplain Entering Pale Town Album

Helen Page is Paperplain. She is a slight 19 year old young lady from Berkshire who has so lovingly written, recorded and mixed her debut mini-album, and what's more she's done most of it at home. (Subsequently mastered at Abbey Road Studios). Recorded on old analogue equipment, and full of over layering, it really pulls you in, capturing your imagination and your attention with equally effortless dexterity.

The songs have a tendency to strike you as light/breezy/throwaway little numbers, however, on closer inspection, and careful listening, they carry with them some biting lyrics. Each song starts evocatively enough and you could be forgiven for picturing babbling brooks, bright summer meadows and sea scented cliff top walks. What you get instead is morally questionable affairs, unrequited love and troubling relationships. Comparisons have already been made to Laura Marling and there is a common ground, but barely. Helen for me is more akin to an English version of Kimya Dawson or a slightly more extrovert Stina Nordenstam with the musicality of Julie Feeney thrown in. It's like an eccentrics delight but without any contrived characteristics. At seven songs, and 20 minutes, long there's barely much filler, instead you are treated to what amounts to the 'best of' so far. The highlight amongst them all is 'Foreign Fingers', a gin soaked lovers tale................

'I could put on a film,
and there's salty popcorn,
and a big cosy jumper that I know that you've worn
and we've had nine or ten now so don't close your eyes,
but I'm not sure we'll sleep great with a whole stream of lies.'

If anything, Entering Pale Town comes and goes far too quickly. No sooner have you been drawn in and become smitten with it's charms than you at the journeys end, just a little disappointed that there's not that smidgen more. Helen Page has crafted her very personal songs into a great mini-album. You can hear each note, each pluck or pick and every vocal inflection. This is probably as close as it gets to virtually being in the same room. What you get is great, and if that leaves you wanting more.............surely that is a mark of it's overall success.

Helen has been tipped, along with Ellie Goulding, Kesha, The Drums and Everything Everything, as one of the 'Top Ten Music Acts To Look Out For in 2010', by The Times. Surely with such a great endorsement Paperplain cannot fail to fly. Catch Helen at The Lock in London on January 17th.

Andrew Lockwood.

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