Album of the Week: PAWS – Cokefloat!
If there were ever an album that the Scottish music scene could roar to success on sheer willpower alone, it’s this one.
It’s been an incredible eighteen months for the Glasgow-based trio – releases in cahoots with Gerry Loves Records and Song, by Toad, huge shows, special support slots and inking a deal with Brighton independent favourites Fat Cat have been the massive highs, tempered by the sad death of frontman Philip Taylor’s Mum from cancer last year.
Unsurprisingly it’s the latter event that is the single driving theme behind the album. Catherine 1956 speaks for itself, but behind the cooing Taylor and Alice Costelloe (Big Deal) duet of Sore Tummy lies heartbreak and loss. Haunting lyrics lie elsewhere (I know that you’ll never die / I’ve got your nose / I’ve got your eyes – Bloodline) but Taylor’s unfaltering work ethic (drummer Josh Swinney and bassist Matt Scott complete the band ) means that any sympathy vote would be thrown straight back at any fool who marks an X.
PAWS stand on the cusp of being the biggest ‘scene’ breakthrough since Frightened Rabbit and it’s all down to hard work, effort and some scorching tunes. Cokefloat! collects the latter, thirteen of them to be precise, a good chunk of which have been around for a number of months, if not longer.
Jellyfish and the aforementioned Bloodline will be instantly familiar to anyone that’s caught a PAWS show of late – in amongst the serrated, grungy guitars and vitriol are terrific pop hooks. Such hooks have drawn the 6 Music programmers to Sore Tummy, an obvious choice for a single, and on daytime rotation at the time of writing. It’s fair to say they’ve come a long way since we stuck them on at the Wee Red Bar in February.
And we’re probably not the only ones listening in with a swell a pride either – PAWS have been rightly backed across the world of Scottish music. Cokefloat! is everything we hoped the band would be capable of and more. Their incredible live energy has been captured on tape and on old live favourite Winners Don’t Bleed you can easily imagine Taylor practically biting the mic as he screams into it before launching another doomed guitar across the stage.
There are quieter moments too. Get Bent and closer Poor Old Christopher Robin don’t jar at all and showcase a side of the band that’s often missed amongst the rage. Our favourite at the minute has to be Miss American Bookworm though, not a number that we can instantly recall from the many PAWS gigs we’ve seen, but an urgent, rushing number with sandblasting guitars and some of Taylor’s finest roars on the album.
Knowing PAWS, any high fives following this release will be kept at a minimum and they’ll want to get on with playing more shows and writing new material quickly, but they deserve a breather. This is a fantastic, at times harrowing listen and if you’re not already in the process of buying it by the end of this review, we’d have to question your sanity.
Cokefloat! is out on Monday and will be launched at Glasgow CCA this Thursday (October 4). More details HERE.