Shouting from the telephones

Victoria-based quintet the Paper Cranes are fronted by the husband-and-wife team of Ryan McCullagh and Miranda Roach, but their songwriting is anything but blissfully domestic. Instead, McCullagh’s lyrics are fixated on heartbreak and loneliness, while his vocals evoke the brash emotionality of Robert Smith. On their debut full-length, 2008′s Halcyon Days, the group sounded a lot like Hot Hot Heat, mixing spiky new wave riffing with catchy dance-rock beats.

The Paper Cranes have released a brand new single, “Telephone,” as a free download on their website. It’s easily the band’s best tune yet, with a bouncy piano groove and wheezy, Dylan-esque harmonica breaks that give the song a sunburnt, rootsy quality. In contrast to the sunny melody, the lyrics are typically gloomy, describing widows pining for lost husbands (“Rheumatic fingers trace their names / In fog on breath on frosted window pains”). It’s not too big a departure from their previous work, but it shows that the Paper Cranes are learning to hone their hook-writing abilities while keeping the lyrics as poignant as ever.

mp3: “Telephone”

The band’s website also promises that a new album entitled Chivalry’s Dead will be out in 2009, but neglects to say whether it’s going to be an EP on and LP.”
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