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Jason Quever has been releasing timeless guitar-based dream pop as Papercuts since 2004, impervious to trends or micro genres that have come and gone around him. In that regard, his contemporaries are artists like Hiss Golden Messenger, Fruit Bats, Andy Shauf or Kings of Convenience – artists who are more concerned with song craft and perfecting their sound, and less concerned with gimmicks or fitting into a specific scene. Past Life Regression is his new album and it's a journey into the dreamier reaches of psychedelic folk-pop that digs deep into influences as wide-ranging as The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Spiritualized, Echo & The Bunnymen, Leonard Cohen and late 60s pop of various flavors.
Crafted shortly after Jason's relocation back to the San Francisco Bay Area after several years in LA, the new album revels in the tensions between the pleasures of homecoming and the collective miseries of the pandemic and our current political upheaval. The return home and the enforced isolation of lockdown lend the album a mood of contemplation and immersion in memory. The results are beguiling, from the lush sunshine pop harmonies of first single "I Want My Jacket Back" to the trippy farfisa-driven space-pop of "Lodger" to the gorgeous, Bunnymen-tinged "Palm Sunday."
As always, Jason's songcraft, arranging and production are immaculate, (Quever has been tapped to work with dream pop Luminaries Dean Wareham and Beach House as of late) as evidenced by the elegant chamber-pop of "My Sympathies" and the epic flow of "The Strange Boys," "Hypnotist" and "Remarry" in the album's warbly second half. The mood of longing and recollection is a perfect match for the album's dreamy textures and for the unusual times we're living through. It's a true testament to the resilience of the Papercuts project that after several acclaimed albums, Jason still has much that's new to say, and is continually finding new ways to say it.
2. Sinister Smile
3. Fade Out
4. I Want My Jacket Back
5. My Sympathies
6. The Strange Boys
7. Palm Sunday
10. Comb In Your Hair