Paper Route draws heavy influence from 1980’s synth-pop, and the Nashville band is benefiting from a resurgence of interest in that style of music. They maximize the technological payload of their songs, setting their vocals against lush backdrops of eclectic instrumentation, electronic percussion, keyboard manipulations, dramatic melodic swells, and mechanized rhythms.
On their debut full-length, Absence, each song springs to life with different, neon-lit auras, and the colors range from moody to jubilant. There’s not a great deal of lyrical substance or instrumental fireworks. It’s simply dreamy, somewhat derivative electro-pop that owes a great debt to the last 30 years of pop music.
It hardly seems coincidental that the track “Wish” features synthesizers and pleading vocals that overtly nod to The Cure, and most of the tracks contain substantial traces of everything you’ve heard before. But “Gutter,” the fuzziest track on the record, and “Carousel,” the first single, hint at the young band’s imminent self-discovery.
Paper Route write songs that provide brief moments of enjoyment but have minimal lasting appeal. Oddly enough, they’re equally influenced by one-hit wonders as well as successful groups like Radiohead, Coldplay and Duran Duran. Absence fails to deliver enough evidence for listeners to determine which side of that equation Paper Route will wind up on.
5.3 out of 10