Okay, we all know that this Swedish group gained notice because its nominal hit “Jerk It Out” was featured in an iPod commercial last year. But in this day of iPods, MP3s, file sharing, and mix CDs, music lovers may have forgotten the value of a good album. More than just a tracklist, good albums take listeners on a journey (if you’ll allow me to be a little corny), and Paper Tigers proves the Caesars are capable of releasing more than one memorable track.
The band’s first American release, 2003’s 39 Minutes of Bliss (In an Otherwise Meaningless World) compiled singles and other previously released tracks. Many tracks on it were sub-par and sappy, but those that weren’t were amazing, leading me to believe the Caesars had a solid album in there somewhere. Paper Tigers is it.
The band retains its Farfisa-organ-induced pop stratagems, but this time accompanies them with lyrics that are more serious and mannerisms that are more playful. “Spirit” is an apt opener: Not only does it have this us-against-the-world vibe (as does the title track) but it also serves as an overture of sorts, letting the listener know what to expect from the rest of the album. The rhythmic synergy of the catchy “It’s Not the Fall That Hurts” segues into the youthful exuberance of “Out There.” There is a “remix” version of “Jerk It Out,” but the difference between this version and previously released versions is negligible. “May the Rain” recalls the British Invasion, sounding like something Herman’s Hermits would put out if it were a modern indie-rock band.
But what makes Paper Tigers interesting is the little dark cloud hovering above the sunny pop musings in frontman Caesar Vidal’s voice. Paper Tigers has the feel of a true album, and it’s an enjoyable listen from beginning to end.
The Caesars Web site: http://www.caesarsweb.com/
Audio samples: http://www.caesarsweb.com/audio.html
Astralwerks Records Web site: http://www.astralwerks.com/