2014 saw Irish Alternative Rock band Paradox back in the studio recording their 4th album to date at Wavefield Recording Studios in Bantry, West Cork, Ireland with multi tasking musician and engineer Brian Casey on the desk.
Titled 'Chapters' the 14 track album combines a variety of new sounds some of which have not yet been heard on any previous Paradox album. The first single 'Nothing Lasts' features slow melancholic Cello tones played by Maeve Kelly carrying the song to it's climatic refrains of 'Nothing Lasts'. A music video also accompanies the single. Cello makes an appearance on various other tracks on the album such as the track 'Eat' which subject focuses on the treatment of animals in factory farms and was initially inspired by the controversial documentary Earthlings.
The new album has been a working progress for over a year which originated in September 2013 with songwriter Pete Mac playing all instruments on the recordings. Paradox drummer Mike Mac joined his brother Pete in the studio for a session in May 2014 after dropping back from his Canadian travels to drum on 4 tracks on the album.
Overall 'Chapters' is far more experimental than any previous album with the band pushing their limits as much as possible in the studio which included recording in different rooms, distorting various bass sounds and having what became a trademark routine for many songs of a noise track when recording the electric guitar. The Noise Track basically consisted of Pete improvising spontaneously with a heavily distorted guitar while recording over various tracks with nothing rehearsed as the noise track was being recorded to add an extra live feel to certain tracks.
As the album name suggests this is the next chapter in the band's history with many songs reflecting chapters in the band member's lives.
A track by track description ::
Prologue - An introduction to the album.
As the World - Opening with a deep bass line and a subtle vocal As the World slowly builds to a chaotic climax with pained guitars moaning with feedback cutting into the melodic riff and vocal melody. The track itself displays the bands more experimental noisy side and was the first new song recorded for the album in September 2013. .
Nothing Lasts - The first single 'Nothing Lasts' features slow melancholic Cello tones carrying the song to it's high point and vocal refrains of 'Nothing Lasts'. A music video also accompanies the single.
S.A.D - A sharp electric guitar opens the track with a more familiar Paradox sound and a 90's rock feel to it. A stop, start motion guides the song through layers of guitars, bass and drums.
Free as a Bird - Probably the most pop sounding track on the album 'Free as a Bird' is full of melodies and smooth guitars while the lyrics may come across as more sarcastic than sincere. The chorus words 'Now I'm Free as a Bird' repeat themselves throughout the song in a radio friendly easy listening gesture while the open layered guitars back the melody and tempo of the song.
Eat - 'Eat' was initially inspired by the controversial documentary 'Earthlings' and focuses mainly on the treatment of animals in factory farms, the fashion industry and how animals are exploited and used solely for profit, consumption and human pleasure. You can view this documentary online in full at earthlings.com
Cello also makes an appearance on this track. The main chorus vocal line 'I'm eating and not thinking' set the general tone.
Here are the full lyrics to the song.
Lyrics :: EAT
I don't mind suffering when it's not my kind
They don't feel a thing I just close my eyes
I'm eating I'm not thinking
I'm eating I'm not seeing
I'm eating I'm not feeling
I'm eating I'm not thinking
Caged fur animal for my loathing pride
Tasteful edible am I sold a lie
I'm ashamed to be a human being
I'm a sadist creep I'm a human disease
Tied running circles around my head
They don't deserve this better dead
It's the same to me a human being
Such a tragedy we don't see
Just keep eating and not thinking
I'm ashamed to be a human being
I'm a fascist freak I'm a human disease
What's the Reason? - While being the shortest track on the album 'What's the Reason' still packs a punch with it's 1 minute and 5 seconds. Mike's steady pounding drum beat mixed with Pete's moaning guitar tones, distorted bass line and frustrated vocals being the song to an abrupt end.
Little Lives - Opening with a lonely acoustic guitar and vocal melody Little Lives breaks into a fast paced fuzzy riff which continues to change it's direction until the end of the song.
In Disguise - From the shortest to the longest track on the album In Disguise runs just under 7 minutes 20 seconds. An off timing beat carries the song until it breaks into a heavy riff which changes it's course once again towards the end of the track.
Painting Pictures - Cello makes an appearance once again on this acoustic ballad which also features female vocal harmonies from bassist Jette.
Beating Down - A subtle electric guitar riff plays gently alongside eerie piano notes and opens the song up into it's full chorus. This track also has a more familiar Paradox sound to it when it bursts into a wall of distorted guitars and choppy drums.
Burning Out - A ticking clock motion opens this fast paced track musically veering towards a more Punk Rock, old school Paradox sound which could have similarities to the bands earlier material. Vocals are spat out at break neck speed with their disgust at the 9 to 5 modern working life format.
Other Side - The albums closing track features a final appearance of mournful Cello that guides the guitars and melodies throughout. Jette's female vocals also flow through the chorus lines of 'If I meet you on the other side maybe then I'll understand'. The song has multiple chord changes towards the middle section changing from major to minor and everything in between.
Epilogue - The albums closing of Cello feedback.
released 24 January 2015
Pete Mac :: Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Drums
Mike Mac :: Drums on 'What's the Reason?', 'In Disguise', 'Beating Down', 'Burning Out'.
Jette :: Vocals on 'As the World', 'Eat', 'Painting Pictures' and 'Other Side'
Maeve Kelly :: Cello on 'Prologue', 'Nothing Lasts', 'Eat', 'Painting Pictures', 'Other Side', 'Epilogue'.
Brian Casey :: Piano on 'Beating Down'.
Engineered, mixed and mastered by Brian Casey at Wavefield Recording Studios, Bantry, West Cork, Ireland. www.facebook.com/wavefieldrecordings
All music and lyrics written by Pete Mac. Artwork and layout by Pete Mac. Photos by Pete Mac, Sarah O'Mahony, Jette and Dave O'Donoghue. Paradox web design by Mike Mac.