They control the pace with slowed down organ laced ballads like In The Absence Of Notable Guests (the interplay between Doug
and the female vocalist is terrific) and more driving rock songs like Rattled By Failure.
Doug McLean, formerly of The Bonaduces, writes some of the purest and truest lyrics and finds a way to deliver them with wholehearted conviction.
When "I Suffer This Like a Dream" opens the album with the sweet vocals of Doug McLean
, sporadic guitar chords and a single clicking drum accompaniment, you get excited.
This is somewhere between those bands, and so of course it comes as no surprise that Doug McLean, the singer of the PAPERBACKS, was in PAINTED THIN.
This Winnipeg pop/rock band (not to be confused with Chicago's much heavier Paperbacks; see my review below) is led by Doug McLean, a sensitive, deep-thinking songwriter.
lyrics read more like unusually descriptive journal entries or poems, ruminating on life's complex, awkward situations and typically unspoken thoughts/feelings with frightening clarity and insight.
In fact, reading the lyrics sheet alone is enough to shake one up, making the listener almost feel guilty for eavesdropping on such highly personal scenes!
You wouldn't think this would translate well to music, but the band complements the word with full-bodied, melodic guitar pop, and McLean's sugar-sweet vocals are very communicative and endearing.
tends to overanalyze too much, or comes off sounding too verbose, but it's probable we've all shared some of these experiences at one time or another.
A fascinating and challenging LP.
Fronted by Doug McLean
, formerly of Painted Thin and The Bonaduces
, The Paperbacks
lack the overabundance of youthful energy that these previous bands had, but make up for it in beautiful songwriting.
McLean's voice is instantly recognizable to anyone familiar with The Bonaduces; on An Episode Of Sparrows however, his
vocals are not as whiny or abrasive as they sometimes were in this previous band.
Complementary backing vocals help to smooth out the melodies on most of the songs.
Bonaduces fans will also find more familiarity here, as bassist Jaret McNabb and drummer Jack Jonasson join McLean once again, along with Tanya Zubert (The Mandarins) and Jason Churko (Transister Sound & Lighting Co.).
Doug McLean, singer and guitarist, might be a familiar name for you for he used to do the same things that he does now for a band called Painted Thin earlier.
And this band, maybe because of the same hometown Winnipeg, is friends with the Weakerthans.
And why do I tell you this?
Well, because the Weakerthans are a good reference.
The music on "An Episode Of Sparrows" is very polite but moving, arranged lovingly but meagrely and produced on a digital eight-track recorder, and not least Doug
has a charismatic voice similar to the one of John K. Samson.