At the start of this past summer, I spent a little time with Dynamo, the 2008 debut of Faded Paper Figures. My initial draw to the record was because of the odd place it falls on the tempo spectrum. It’s upbeat, but is it dance music? A lot of people will compare it to the now-defunct Gibbard-Tamborello Postal Service project, and while that’s a good starting point, it really doesn’t tell the whole story.
For one, it’s less industrial. Give Up was (over?)populated by clicks, snaps, and clacks that always evoked images of machinery for me on some level. Faded Paper Figures, in this dimension, is softer, almost more ‘acoustic,’ if you can think beyond the synth for a moment. That said, if you like synth, this band has it in spades, and while their use of it isn’t groundbreaking or experimental, it is really, really pleasant to listen to. An example is in order:
This is a quintessential FPF song: tempo moves along at a quick enough clip, elegantly simple application of synthetic beats, and a guitar riff that is just smooth as hell. The above ‘Metropolis‘ as well as the opener ‘North by North’ are the band at their most listenable, and are relatively upfront, representative samples of what the group has to offer.
‘Logos’ is a little darker, a bit more abstract than its cohorts, but follows the same schematic. If you want a full record of easy-listening, slower songs like ‘B film’, ‘Polarioid Solution’, and ‘Being There’ will help prolong the magic, but some of these don’t stand as well on their own. This is perhaps in contrast to the lyrically interesting ‘Geneva’s Gone’ and ‘The Persuaded‘.
The same catchy hooks are present in this song, but the contrast of the verses with the fuzzy sound of the chorus instrumentation makes this an edgier (both in sound and lyrical content) surprise towards the close of the album.
And while the end of the record really sputters with the political couplet of ‘Speeches’ and ‘Red State’ (the former of which is solid, but not fantastic), Dynamo is a worthwhile investment of time.
Switch it on, and let it fill the silence behind whatever you’re doing. I really enjoyed it because I tire occasionally of haveing to work so hard to like some music, and Faded Paper Figures was a welcome reprieve from that.
NOTE: FPF actually released a new record around the exact time I started listening to their debut, so I’ll try and log some time on that and get a post on it up before the year is out.