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No salvation

The Paper Chase
The Cactus Club
Milwaukee, WI
July 2, 2009
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Review and photos by Matt Schwenke

Formed in the late 90s by producer/engineer John Congleton, Dallas-based The Paper Chase (or alternatively, the pAper chAse) has been creating a distinctly rough and odd combination of rock, jazz and pop since the band's debut Young Bodies Heal Quickly, You Know in 2000. While their earliest work often drifted well into the avant-garde and beyond, their latest offering, Someday This Could All Be Yours (vol. 1 The Calamaties), the first half of a two-part concept album with the theme of natural disasters, finds the band as intense as ever while at the same time as accessible as ever to a larger audience.

At a packed Cactus Club show, The Paper Chase delivered their apocalyptic sonic assault from their new album, almost in its entirety, with precise and heavy low-end from Bobby Weaver, scathing rhythm from Jason Garner, horror film-like synths from Sean Kirkpatrick and a hefty dose of discordant melody from Congleton. Through the already-intense new tunes of "What Should We Do With Your Body (The Lightning)," "The Common Cold (The Epidemic)" and "This Is Only A Test (The Tornado)," Congleton was at times fittingly sinister and at others eerily composed with the semi-possessed draw of a traveling preacher; only, Congleton and company offered no salvation of sorts, as earlier material played that night, "Ready, Willing, Cain and Able" and "We Know Where You Sleep" carried the same apocalyptic weight and left the crowd to fill in the blanks of their own post-apocalyptic scenario.
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