Nashville’s The Paperhead (the trio of Ryan Jennings, Peter Stringer-Hye and Walker Mimms) have crafted three albums of psych-pop perfection. They return on February 17th with their fourth magnum opus entitled “Chew” (Trouble In Mind Records), but you can get an advance listen to it now.
Having been lifelong fans of psychedelia and prog rock, the band found themselves at the forefront of the neo-psych revival, but unlike many of their contemporaries, the band has deftly avoided comparisons to most modern-day psych acts. In their six years as a band, they’ve found a way to straddle four decades of music, cherry-picking elements from a crop ripe for picking. As teens, the members of the Paperhead were Sixties British psychedelia obsessives and it showed – their debut (as The Looking Glass) and their “s/t” 2011 album as the Paperhead (a name taken from a line in Sixties psychedelic group July’s song “My Clown”) both demonstrated a clear understanding of the Floyd/Barrett legacy, mingling lysergic pop with oblique jams. Recent years have seen the trio expanding their sound into something more progressive and experimental, incorporating country rock, AM radio broadcasts, jazz, Zappa-inflected prog-rock and folk. The sheer level of sophistication in the group’s arrangements starting in 2010 at age eighteen can be seen two-fold; an open internet allowed the trio to absorb as much music as they wanted with a keystroke, compounded with a loyal and dedicated core group of friends and allies from bands and record stores in the Nashville music scene with whom they collected records.
The Paperhead’s current oeuvre showcases a band whose strengths lie in each other; the raw talent and chemistry flourishes as three minds came together as one with Jennings, Stringer-Hye and Mimms operating in tandem, each anticipating the other’s moves before they make it and whose collaborative spirit reigns in the studio. In most band’s hands, the freedom and convenience of music these days could be a detriment, but rather than committing the cardinal sin of many modern acts by drenching everything in reverb, The Paperhead revel in clarity and melody. The band will stretch out and jam in a live setting, but their recent album’s celebrate structure and, above all – songs. The case can be made that many bands aren’t allowed the time to ripen and mature, most flaming out before they really “lock in” and find their way. With “Chew”, The Paperhead’s time is nigh, and we couldn’t be happier to take a bite.