Henrietta Paper Wings on LP
Sometimes the most powerful art is as sinister as is it stunning, expressing almost objective splendor even as its shadows loom longer and darker with each exposure. Orlando, FL's Henrietta has dwelt in desperate beauty for years, but the band embraces the disparity wholeheartedly on Paper Wings, their second LP with Animal Style Records.
This is perhaps most effective on side-B's "In the Back Yard," a sunny, vernal song whose guitars glitter in brief bursts at the beginning of each phrase while the drums hop playfully as if from rock to rock across some sparkling creek. Even vocalist Manuel Urdaneta's bright warble adds to a seemingly luminous scene, but his lyrics take a sullen turn. "When I go," he sings as the song climbs toward its desolate conclusion, "just bury me in the backyard / let the dirt hit my body / and I hope I'll be happy / by then."
This contrast – the brilliant, soaring songs weighted by their brooding lines – exists throughout Paper Wings, but it's on "Few Friends," the album's delicate closing track, where the disparity is most evident. Here, Urdaneta's finger-plucked acoustic creates an exquisite foundation for the album's dark last lines: "Just make sure the noose on my rope / won't give out. / It won't fail me now."
Of course, it's because Henrietta has broadened its already sweeping sound and deepened its already dark poetry that Paper Wings is so powerful. Apart, these distinct sides reveal talented musicians and terrific music; paired together, though, they paint a complex and impressive piece of art.