by Tiana Feng
Release Date: October 8th, 2013
Label: Sparks Music
After a poppy self-titled debut, Papermaps’ music has been getting darker, gritty and more angry (take a listen to “The Memory Song”).
Last year, they announced the departure of keyboardist Wendy Leung and bassist Todd Harrison. As a result Darker Lights is more guitar fuelled and I’m okay with that. The guitar licks of “Shadow Theatre” reassured this notion that the band still lives on.
“I’ve Closed A Door” could arguably sound filler, but producer Dean Marino experiments with guitar pedals creating an effect much like beat drops in EDM. “One by One”” has noticeably different vocals. They’re higher, I assume it’s Betty Dimo taking the reins, which in the past have always been Marino’s. “Poor City” is the anthem of all those friends struggling to afford living in Toronto, yet are happier not to be in their small home towns. “Nobody Gets It”, the single from Papermaps’ Inferior Ghost EP gets a slower and moodier rework.
The highlight of the album is the petulant closer “Vanauley Walk”. The name of the tune comes from a sketchy part of Toronto known for gang activities and shootings. It sums up Darker Lights nicely with atmospheric textures and a hooky chorus, despite the lyrics being about watching someone tumble to their death.