'Sonder' from Papaphone – songs with oceans of passion(August 24, 2014)
Long the staple of folk and acoustic music, the ‘man-with-guitar’ format has run the gamut from ‘deluded persistence’ through ‘decidedly average’ to ‘outstanding original’. Humans with ‘wood and wire’ have been adored, maligned, ignored and lauded. Thousands pursue the style, with the basic requirements being instrumental proficiency, decent lyrics and a good voice. That’s the easy part - the hard part is finding someone that takes the format somewhere different and exciting. The next difficulty is taking that name to a wider audience. Well in this case, the album ‘Sonder’ from Papaphone (Russell Perkins to his friends) comes with the necessary impact to do the job.
The overriding impression is songs delivered with oceans of passion. This man holds back not one jot. Clearly in command of lyrics and instrument, there is palpable feeling delivered by the bucket load. Songs that cut to the heart, to make you sit up and take notice. Papaphone (a music college epithet that stuck) possesses a voice that ranges from sensitive doggedness to outraged resolve. The album is raw energy, no easy-going background music here. The opener ‘Brand New’ offers an immediate pull with a strong vocal edge, softer-voiced‘Beside You Now’ moves into a more tender questing desire while a pop-infused hook makes ‘I Love You (Most Of The Time)’ hard to forget. To my ears, Papaphone comes into his own when he’s voicing his powerful lyrics with either a touch of pleading angst or incensed belief - listen to ‘Didn’t You Know’ or ‘Joystick Burning’.
The breadth of these songs shows exactly what Papaphone can do. 'Sonder' launches at Camden Proud on 5 September 2014. Treat yourself – get a copy. And if the preview is anything to go by, expect a sell-out.
Reviewer: Tim Carroll