Columbia’s Death of Paris pull no punches in declaring their devotion to colossal pop hooks on their latest EP, “Gossip”. The title is a back-handed reference to not placating local music cabals who might be a little too dedicated to following the endless rules of genre sub-styles that are defiant to commercial success. This is pop music with no apologies, made for the radio, made to be stuck in and inextricable from a listener’s memory and it succeeds in its mission.
Singer Jayna Doyle leads the charge with her polished vocal sound that shows both a rock and R&B influence at different times. It’s a focused weapon in the studio, yielding up easy comparisons to modern glossy rock singers like Paramore’s Hayley Williams, but also reminding me of ‘80s New Wave front-women who worked similar terrain like Pat Benatar or Scandal’s Patty Smyth. Keyboardist/ guitarist Blake Arambula is her main partner here in creating the electro pop melodies that stay with the listener long after the record is over. Patrick Beardsley on guitar and Bryan Lee Bass on drums round out the bands’ powerful pop rock sound. There is no bass player here but it is still present through synths, helping to forge their unique persona.
Album opener “Give + Take” blows the door open with driving synths and a huge anthemic chorus. “Shut Up & Kiss Me” is heavily synthy and almost funky, complemented by Doyle’s powerful demanding vocal entreaty. The glitchy bridge spins things around nicely before heading back into the earlier sound. “72” is the soulful ballad of this bunch with a slowly developing emotional release. Fight song “New Blood” is more high-intensity pop that starts with subtle techno and then morphs into ‘80s style hard rock/ synths. The last song “Secret” tones down the electro rock activity into a perfect mid-paced ,radio friendly tune that would probably not seem out of place on a Taylor Swift album.
What we have here is serious big league work. The possibilities for appreciation from both younger high school/ college listeners and an older audience looking for a ‘80s nostalgia rush are both evident. With the right exposure, it’s hard to imagine Death of Paris not being hugely popular. Go see them now before they leave us for bigger venues, you have been warned.
Recommended if you like: Paramore, Scandal, Metric
Sean Knight is a native South Carolinian who has spent his life bouncing back and forth between SC and Texas, playing in bands you probably never heard of in both states and stinking up open-mic nights in the Low Country for many years. He plays, collects, listens to and probably spends too much of his life obsessing over music.