Bands never get sick of talking about love. After more than a century of recorded music (and live music for millennia before that) you’d think that the subject would be exhausted, but bands like Paulson keep searching for new perspectives and mining new sentiments, even if love is still the bottom line.
All at Once, Paulson’s most recent album is a saccharine explosion of experimental dance rock. Bubbling synthesizers lay textures over a solid bass line and tasteful guitar work, but the drums are what really attracts the listeners attention. They keep the songs interesting, while still making you tap your foot and unexpected time changes make sure that there’s no chance of tuning anything out. These rhythms are what separates Paulson from the rest of the bands out there, what makes them sound like their own unique musical creation.
Vocally All at Once is a hard record to figure out. At first Logan LaFlotte seems like he’s trying too hard and being overly sentimental, but the more time spent with the album the more genuine it feels. You begin to suspect that he really does care that much, that it just comes so naturally that it’s almost not recognizable as emotion.
Like I said before this album is about love. Dark and mysterious, brooding at times, threatening at others. Paulson doesn’t have an answer for us; they’re still just as confused and excited by the feeling everyone else. Every once in a while there’s ecstasy, a fleeting moment of joy, like in “Slow Down” where love feels like fresh air after drowning, or in “ Calling on You” where the need for closeness eclipses everything else. It’s these moments that make songwriters keep on writing about love. Sure there are a lot of songs about broken hearts and hurt feelings, but without these moments of ecstasy, that Paulson has captured so well, there can be no broken hearts.
LORENZO WOLFF is a musician living in New York. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org