Paper Lights are a project out of Atlanta, Georgia, who embrace sound experimentation while staying true to their own classification of “Adventure Music”. Everything from complexly produced soundscapes to the inclusion of the sounds that surrounded them in their recording spaces — perhaps this is why the album title, Great Escapes, fits so perfectly.
The band makes pop music with a dreamy edge. Album opener “Culdesac Sadness” launches into this: a summation of what is to come. The track feels anything but sad. It’s a deep pool of beats and vocals, all working together to make the song catchy, danceable, and optimistic-in-the-face-of-adversity. The track blends into “Everything Takes Time” which brings a recurring theme to Great Escapes: advice and wisdom. The track moves between the grand and the soft for an optimistic glint.
“Passing Through” is a lyric-less soundscape that is perfectly placed after the high energy beginning of the album, and brings the album down before the percussive “Were A Lot Like Trees” highlight arrives with a dreamy catchiness. The vocals here have a smooth and enticing quality. You can catch the experimentation with sounds in “Pixelated Skies” and the love of ambiance continues in “Half Made”. Here, the album slows down.
By “Place to Begin” it becomes clear that Paper Lights pay close attention to the importance of album composition. The pace picks up with a punctuating piano riff and a fun tempo. “Adherent” is another highlight, this time infused with raw imagery and an addictive melancholy musicality. The sonic depth is pervasive. “Bozeman, MT” is another atmospheric wash before the album breaks into the mysterious but rising “This Mountain is my Chapel”. The track stays slow, but finishes Great Escapes on a perfect note.