Perplexingly, White Lung has been a fairly intense punk band with loads of indie credibility. As time has gone on, they’ve gradually soothed the rawer edges of their sound, which is probably more of a testament to their indie cred now than it was when they first started playing. Having said that, Paradise is White Lung’s fourth album and by far their “poppiest” album to date.
For most of Paradise, many of the elements of White Lung’s style are still present: the high-velocity tempos, the nimble, angular guitar work, and the driving bass. However, a few things have changed: the production is cleaner than ever before and Mish Way-Barber’s vocals are more processed. Additionally, there are some softer, slower songs (“Hungry” and “Below”) that seem out of place.
Noticeably, Mish’s vocals have lost all the bark and bite they had on earlier recordings. Her vocals seem processed (possibly a small amount of auto-tune?) and more easily digestible for wider audiences. While guitarist Kenneth William’s work is still technical and impressive, a lot of his post-hardcore dissonance and darkness is removed from the equation (“Vegas” is a noticeable exception).
White Lung introduced catchier elements and a cleaner production on 2014’s Deep Fantasy, which was successfully mixed in with their raw and unpredictable sound on earlier recordings, but Paradise seems like a watered-down, more sanitized version of that.
Recommended If You Like: Melt-Banana, Pretty Girls Make Graves, RVIVR, Savages
Recommended Tracks: 1 (Dead Weight), 2 (Narcoleptic), 6 (Sister), (8) I Beg You
Do Not Play: None
Written by Josh Gaston on 09/07/2016