April 27, 2012

Paradise: Portland’s Mod Revival

by Yolanda Leigh

It’s fair to say the mod revival goes from strength to strength and at the moment there are no finer exponents of it than this brand new band who hail from Portland, Oregon and go by the name of Paradise. Oh boy, they’re Paradise by name, paradise by nature! They’ve just released their debut album “Diary of an Old Soul” which is already critically acclaimed. Together, the band is gathering a staunch fan base of supporters who want to bring the good stuff back to the fore.

Who are they?

The band comprises Steven, Tamar, Dominic and Brian and they’ve been going just over a year or so. They’re signed to the “Luvvers Club” label and sort of position themselves as a Small Faces-eqsue type band. If you know you like bands such as The Stones, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, The Sweet and the aforementioned Faces then you will just love Paradise. They released their first single, also called “Diary of an Old Soul” on February 2nd and here it is:

Paradise - Diary of an Old Soul

Why not think about downloading the album or single or buying a hard copy and sending it by city link? It’s just fantastic, full of energy and life. Really super catchy organ riff, brilliant punchy guitar work and a fantastic vocal performance full of properly shouty angst. Fabulous. If you don’t at the very least tap your feet to it then there’s something wrong with you. In fact, if you've not got the organ hook stuck in your head after the first listen then there is definitely something not right. It's so infectious! The video is great too, awesome sixties feel to it and the guys have just the right balance of nerd and sexiness going on. It’s boisterous and full of heart – sort of a bit like seeing the sixties coming back into full view again. There’s a nice mix of psychedelia in there too. They say of themselves they are:
“The sound of flux, of response to a United Federation of States run by the few. A response to growing up tormented by idols and enemies. Their sound is a refuge from data, meetings and humans. In a world of mindless pop culture, we offer you an escape from the masses”
It’s true. They do. You obviously can make comparisons to who they sound like, to who they’re trying to emulate, however at the same time they do have an up to the minute, modern edge to their music that allow them to fit in with the twenty first century too.

They look the part!

Yep, it’s not always cool to keep harking back to how someone looks when the focus should be on their sound but these guys look amazing too. You can see from the video how they bring retro cool in. Their lead singer is especially smart, which is a novelty in itself when you’re used to seeing scruffy musicians shambling around. It’s that sort of attention to detail that not only makes them more appealing but makes them more credible as a mod act. You could almost feel they have a label attached to them that says “If you find us, please return us to the 1960s”. They’re that good.

Can I see them live?

They’ve just played some sell out gigs in their hometown – a great show on 20th April at Club 21 with Modern Lives, The No Tomorrow Boys and The Lordy Lords, which were really well received. In the next couple of months they’ve got shows planned again in Oregon at the World Famous Kenton Club on Saturday May 19th, and then a big gig at The Royal Room, Seattle on Saturday June 16th. Live, they pack just as much punch as they do in the studio. Noisy, exciting and visceral are probably about the best words use to describe them. Fuzzy and soaked with Farfisa goodness it’s totally impossible not to be drawn into the sounds they create. Their enthusiasm for what they do is so apparent and so redolent in their sound you can’t help but want a piece of their action, so if its old mods in a new world you want then give Paradise a go and you won’t be disappointed at all. Portland’s answer to The Small Faces has come to save modern music.