[Album Review] Paper Beat Scissors- All We Know
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Release Date: May 19, 2017
Label: Forward Music Group

Tim Crabtree, “Montreal’s dislocated Brit,” started recording an acoustic album. As friends joined the project, the sound grew with the company. The result is All We Know—a six-track EP of melancholy indie-folk by Paper Beat Scissors.

Like the project itself, musically All We Know starts small and expands naturally. The title track opens with an airy wash of cymbals and electric guitar. Crabtree sings the repeating refrain “All we know is… all we know is…” in symmetrical lines up and down. There is a deep sense of searching—never quite finding.

“All It Was” (track 2) has a similar rise-and-fall structure, but “Better” starts around the highest energy level of the previous songs. More primal percussion drives it forward—rumbling toms replace washing cymbals. Rather than fading, the energy is abruptly cut off at the last second.

From this climax, the album fades in tension but finds its best musical moments in its back half. “Didn’t Know” is a bright, melodic piece. It reflects hope in both its sound and lyrics, featuring a beautiful brass-laden interlude between quiet verses.

“Gone and Forgotten” returns to the more expansive feeling of the opening tracks, but uses more comforting, familiar harmonies in its arrangement. Listening to it with your eyes closed, you might think there’s something about being forgotten that isn’t so bad. There is peacefulness in your own insignificance.

On the final track, “What Am I Going To Do With Everything I Know,” Crabtree re-visits his intention to record an acoustic album. The result is beautiful—his clear storyteller’s voice rings out more than on the previous songs.

All We Know is a pleasurable listen. At times, the vocals are obscured by the orchestral sound, but this is part of the style: Crabtree straddles the line between songwriter and composer. Turn it on and let the sound take you away.