ParamoreAfter Laughter

Fueled By Ramen/WEA
May 12, 2017
paramore
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Punk goes pop!

The enduring theme weaving Paramore’s iconic career as leaders of a scene desperate for a guiding light is honesty. Few pop punk bands have succeeded in completely abandoning their establishing sound. However, it was never octave chords and galloping drum beats that made Paramore special. After Laughter showcases a band who have accepted the tribulations associated with growing up, but refuse to wallow.

The 15 year-olds who once plastered their school books with the angsty poeticism of Riot have now grown up and experienced the trials of love, grieving and loss, much like their heroes. Exuding wisdom with aplomb, After Laughter is a genuine, heartfelt and sincere reflection on growing pains, without the awkwardness.

Paying homage to 80s pop and danceable Pitchfork worshipped indie rock, lead single and opening track Hard Times is a glaring introduction into the band’s reworked aesthetic. With not a power chord in sight, the jaunty guitar line led Told You So sees an embrace of the xylophone that’d put Vampire Weekend to shame.

Underneath a saccharine drenched production, Hayley Williams vocal prowess isn’t suppressed in the slightest. Her signature growled inflections find a contrasting home among bubble-gum synths and popping bass. Lyrically, Williams certifies her crown as a voice for the voiceless in not only pop punk, but all of music with Fake Happy showcasing snarky call out on the bullshit fed through social media.

The 15 year-olds who once plastered their school books with the angsty poeticism of Riot have now grown up and experienced the trials of love, grieving and loss, much like their heroes. Exuding wisdom with aplomb, After Laughter is a genuine, heartfelt and sincere reflection on growing pains, without the awkwardness.

Quasi-ska worship on the Caught In the Middle truly embodies the intention Paramore had in mind for After Laughter – it uses life’s most painful moments as a reason to spit in the face of adversity with unadulterated fun.

80s worship in the vein of Carly Rae Jepsen’s underrated classic EMOTION is continued on tracks like Pool and Forgiveness that pick up where Ain’t It Fun’s palm muted guitars and thumping bass line’s left off. Even on acoustic track 26 the album’s disco-frenzy momentum isn’t compromised.

Although it is Paramore’s most blatant appeal to straight up pop, After Laughter is the band’s most mature and realised release. Lesser bands would’ve faltered under the pressures Paramore have faced in recent years. Without reducing themselves to the cash-grabbing ploys of anniversary tours, Paramore have revelled in their position as chameleons in a scene that often celebrates stagnation.

STANDOUT TRACKS: Rose Coloured Boy, Forgiveness, Pool

STICK THIS NEXT TO: HAIM, Sky Ferreira, Talking Heads


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