Paramore are a band who could have easily crumbled in the last few years. Original guitarist and drummer Zac and Josh Farro left unceremoniously in 2010 with a rather nasty online message about their band-mates. Bassist Jeremy Davis and guitarist Taylor York were left to pick up the piece with the extroverted yet pint sized frontwoman Hayley Williams. Produced by Justin Meldal-Johnsen (longtime bassist for Beck and Nine Inch Nails) who previously produced albums for M83 and Neon Trees. Also new on board is drummer Ilan Ruben, who’s drummed for Nine Inch Nails and more recently Angels and Airwaves, he only appears on the album.
Their fourth record is a lot brighter and happier than be expected, opening tracks ‘Fast In My Car’ and ‘Now’ are the perkiest, most youthful songs you might ever hear outside of Glee. Some of the best moments comes from three short interludes that feature just Hayley and a ukulele, ‘Moving On,’ ‘Holiday’ and ‘I’m Not Angry Anymore’ are sweet and showcase what soul William’s voice contains, perhaps it’s just a shame these tracks aren’t longer.
While their sound may not have grown up their lyrics have both ‘Part II’ and ‘Hate To See Your Heart Break’ show a maturity that many of their peers have yet to find within their music. There is a little bit of something for everyone but maybe not everything for someone here. ‘Daydreaming’, ‘Anklebiters’ and ‘Part II’ have the youthful attack of the Paramore we’ve known and loved since 2005’s ‘Emergency’ while the epic eight minute closer ‘Future’ takes a leaf out of Biffy Clyro’s book with its four minute musical prog rock solo.
There are great shows of creativity, musicianship and lyrics here but it’s Hayley William’s voice that is on showcase here, the light and shade of the vocals hold this album together and are the reason they are still standing when many other pop rockers have come and gone.
Paramore have risen like a phoenix from the ashes of a broken line up to reincarnate stronger and have released one of their most critically acclaimed records to date.