At The Roadhouse is the second album by the Australian band The Paper Kites I feature on Flyctory.com. While in my first review, the 2021 album Roses, the indie rock / indie folk band featured a lot of guest artists, they rather operate in their very own lineup this time. At The Roadhouse, however, feels quite a lot like a alternative country music album as well. It has been released on 1st September 2023.
The Paper Kites – About The Artists
The Paper Kites have formed in 2009 in Melbourne. They are a quintet consisting of Sam Bentley (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica, mandolin), Christina Lacy (pianos, Wurlitzer, rhodes, guitars), David Powys (guitars, banjo), Samuel Rasmussen (bass) and drummer Josh Bentley. There is some more bio about the band in my Roses review. At The Roadhouse is already the band’s sixth studio album.
The Paper Kites – At The Roadhouse – Track by Track
The sixteen songs album lasts 80 minutes. The name of the album is a reference to the house build at the edge of the town of Campbells Creek, Victoria, in which the band recorded the album within a month.
1. Midnight Moon
Midnight Moon is one of the songs which has the strongest country music style. A rather traditional sound with a decent groove, howling guitars. The backing vocals are a bit too kitschy, maybe – but somehow it also fits to the emotional storytelling of the song.
2. Till the Flame Turns Blue
Quite a lot of songs of this album have already been shared with the fans. Till the Flame Turns Blue is one of them. Melodically, it comes with a very similar style as the opener. However, this one is even a bit slower – therefor, the kitsch level is a bit lower. I love it, as it is finally a very personal way of telling a story.
3. Black & Thunder
Black & Thunder is a rather rocking song. The groove of the third track also reminds of blues elements. The song comes with a very present, short main theme, which feels repetitive. The lyrics side does not add too much thrill to this experience as well.
Marietta is a country ballad with a slightly sad and melancholic touch. Again, Sam Bentley does a great job on the microphone and creates a lovely atmosphere around this song.
5. Rolling on Easy
Rolling on Easy is adding some folk sprinkles to the album. The high banjo sounds in the background nicely drive this song as much as the steel guitar presence. The fifth song is modest – in a very positive way. The Paper Kites don’t give you any extras which are not necessary to get into the story anyway.
6. Hurts So Good
If you compare it with the mean song duration, the 4:56 minute song Hurts So Good is already a relatively short listen. The song is very atmospheric and nicely works with the several instrumentalists and layers of instruments. Thus, I feel that this one is definitely a wisely-picked single release.
7. Good Nights Gone
Just having discussed song duration – Good Nights Gone is the longest song on the album. However, the duration deviates just slightly on At The Roadhouse, so that this seventh track is “just” 6:20 minutes long. Again, the band is presenting a rather slow and plushy track with clear country music references. I like the instrumental part in the last third of the track.
8. Burn the Night Away
Burn The Night Away comes with the slow style of a lullaby. However, it would definitely be a shame to sleep during this song – not only the gentle vocal performance is worth a listen.
9. June’s Stolen Car
The ninth song is the last one the band shared with their fans before the album. The sound is more rocking and also feels to have a wider Americana style. The song comes with a very nice pre-chorus and chorus.
10. Maria, It’s Time
In the context of the other songs of the album, Maria, It’s Time almost feels like a pop track. However, the song is just a bit more on the mainstream side. The chorus stays in your mind. Very nice write.
11. Green Valley
Funnily, my promo to the album did not include this track, but the tracklist noted it. However, I found a version of Green Valley online. The sound of this song nicely fits into the gentle style of the album. Beautiful leverage between the instruments and the vocal part.
12. The Sweet Sound of You
The twelfth song of the album is the most beautiful ballad of the album to me. Starting with the title, The Paper Kites present a song full of lovely emotions and love. Very nice listen.
13. I Don’t Want to Go That Way
After that emotional highlight, the Australians simply add another one. I Don’t Want to Go That Way is not as good as The Sweet Sound Of You, but it is very close. Again, the band is creating just the right atmosphere.
14. Pocket Full of Rain
With Pocket Full of Rain, The Paper Kites present another song which is rather heading towards folk music. Again, the sound of the song is rather unagitated and is marvelously focusing on the storytelling.
Mercy has a stronger groove and also a comparably intense bass drum. The first chord feels to call you and kick you – but finally the song does go back to the rather slow, quiet and intimate style.
16. Darkness at My Door
After all these rather quiet moment, the closing songs feels to a bit like a stranger. The song is louder, the chords are stronger A surprisingly intense finale.
The Paper Kites – At The Roadhouse – Spotify
Here is the album on Spotify:
The Paper Kites – At The Roadhouse – My View
The key limitation about this album: the rather quiet style of the album may be rather tiring. The songs demand your attention, you shall listen to the The Paper Kites. If you do you, they thank you with a beautiful and very extensive set of 16 nice songs. Good one.
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