Self-described as “a collective of three daydreamers”, drawing inspirations from "old movies, visual arts, geometric shapes, late night biking trips, vintage girl groups, chamber pop and shoegaze as well as the latest indie gems”, the Helsinki / Tampere trio paints an audio canvas of lilting and wistful collage on Past Perfect.
One can imagine being a transient, strolling through a Nordic town as the withering winter surrenders to the budding spring, absorbing senses and sensations that self-constructs into affecting vignettes but oh so fleeting... Sweet without being syrupy, pleasant without being dull, Paperfangs' synth-swathed baroque pop gently soars and falls with the rhythm of life.
Most tracks on the new album sound like the general swath of contemporary dream pop, with showy electronic accents at a minimum, and a considerable emphasis on lyricism. However, the record's first single, “Bathe in Glory,” is different. It begins with crickets and then develops into a solemn, synthy, admission of personal responsibility. “It was a simple task / I thought I'd caught those eyes / it's not a tiny world / we're not three blind mice,” Jyri remarks. He continues, “they didn't build this town / they didn't write their stories / or wait a hundred years... / yet they bathe in glory.” Despite gloomy lyrics and less-than-hurried tempo, “Bathe in Glory” also features a burst of bright and stylish keyboard to even out the mood.
“All Girls Are Grey” is the second single off the record. This one is really good. It starts out simply with drum track and synth, and gradually layers on piano, uplifting dance beat, and vocalist Jyri's signature deep, impassioned musings. Like the rest of the album, the lyrics here are of the somber variety. The excerpt, “my trembling hands are trapped in clay / all fade to grey” provides an accurate characterization of song's overall tone. “All Girls Are Grey” further features a real treat, namely keyboardist Tarleena's wispy female harmonies which echo the title's familiar refrain.
“This Power” and “Avenues of Splendour” make up the LP's inevitable filler tracks. Despite such status, I still recommend a couple spins when playing Past Perfect all the way through — as they provide a smooth, seamless segue between the standouts.