SKY’S THE LIMIT- Nailing a range of genres via their energetic tunes

East coast rockers set to storm The Vat

PEI's the Paper Lions aren't wary of delving into a multitude of genres

Hailing from Belfast, Prince Edward Island, the Paper Lions are bringing their ‘Rolling Oyster Review’ to The Vat on Oct. 28.

Fans aren’t just in for rich serving of infectious indie pop/rock, but the guys also plan to bring a taste of their home province with fresh PEI oysters they’ll be shucking during day events across the country. No word if that’s part of the Red Deer stop or not.

Anyways, back to the music. It all started way back when some of the guys (brothers John and Rob MacPhee and neighbour Colin Buchanan) began playing music together at a very young age in a variety of garage bands.

But it really all fell into place when they met drummer David MacDonald in high school, joining guitarist Buchanan and Rob and John (bass and lead vocals respectively).

For the first four years of the band’s career they were known as the Chucky Danger Band and during that time they toured Canada extensively.

Due in part to some unique touring opportunities such as Art Starts (a program exposing schools and communities to all forms of art), literally no ground was left uncovered, from the Queen Charlotte Islands to Charlottetown. The ambitious non-stop performance schedule landed the band the 2007 National Touring Group of the Year award presented by CAPACOA.

But changes were in the wind. By 2007, the band grew tired of their name and sought a new title more in tune with their maturing sound and new direction. Paper Lions was formerly introduced on Feb. 21, 2008. At this point, the guys also announced they were taking a break from touring and would be focusing on their songwriting for a stint.

That winter, the guys hibernated in their practice space on Prince Edward Island, penning dozens of songs in all kinds of styles. Creativity was unrestrained and their hard work paid off handsomely, resulting in a project called Trophies that wielded six finely-crafted tunes.

It was released in late September of 2010.

Through a process of sifting through extensive basement recordings and demos, they began to find their fresh new sound in what has been described as ‘short explosive pop arrangements’. By the summer of 2009 they were ready to hit the studio, recording Trophies with producer/engineer Dan Weston. Their music can perhaps be described as ‘unpredictable’ pop rock with a distinctly alternative edge. Listeners never quite know what’s coming around the corner from song to song, or even within the confines of a single tune.

Cuts range from the rollicking and retro-flavoured Hands to the more conventional tones of Lost the War. They nicely reflect the band’s starkly unique approach to songwriting, as does Sweat It Out with its deep, rumbling guitar nicely popping up in the mix.

Trouble shows off the vocal strengths of John in particular. Stay Here For Awhile sounds pretty close to something you might here on contemporary radio with its relatively upbeat, breezy tone but there’s still that undeniable ‘Paper Tigers stamp’ firmly emblazoned on it just the same.

Meanwhile, amidst all the buzz about the six-song collection and their work in promoting it, the guys have been hard at work on their next project. The Red Deer show will offer listeners the chance to hear samples of their highly-anticipated upcoming and full-length CD.

Embracing the style of going it ‘their way’ certainly sets the band apart and has also succeeded in snapping up attention and a number of accolades along the way as well.

Since their inception Paper Lions have also had the pleasure of playing alongside many of North America’s finest acts such as CAKE, The Rheostatics, Joel Plaskett, The Golden Dogs, and Hey Rosetta!

The guys have also been nominated for 13 East Coast Music awards, taking home Pop Recording of the Year in 2006. Other career highlights include the chance to hit the stage at the 2010 Olympics and Paralympics in Vancouver, as well as the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.

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