The Paperhead have been Nashville, TN's best-kept secret for years now. The trio have crafted three albums of psych-pop perfection, last leaving us with 2014's Africa Avenue. They return in fine form with their fourth magnum opus, entitled Chew. Having been lifelong fans of psychedelia and prog rock, they've found a way to straddle four decades of music. Rather than committing the cardinal sin of many modern acts by drenching everything in reverb, Chew revels in clarity and melody - the listener finds themselves disoriented by the jarring juxtaposition of styles, rather than gimmicky studio trickery.
This was purposeful, as the band wanted Chew to seem like criss-crossing AM radio broadcasts. Melodic psych-pop drifts up against crunchy, progressive riffs and good ol' steel-guitar driven country rock, but it all works. The album's centerpiece "Dama de Lavanda" is perhaps their most accomplished composition to date, with it's breezy Latin rhythms - it swings with an assuredness unseen from the band as yet. Horns and flutes pepper the mix, but it's the Bacharach-meets-Pretty Things outro that really hits a home run. The obvious peak of an album crackling with ideas and creativity.
Chew was recorded by the band in bassist Peter Stringer-Hye's garage studio in Nashville and mixed by Cooper Crain (Bitchin' Bajas, Cave) at Chicago's Minbal Studios.