In the summer of 2014, pop enthusiasts Dude York changed. When their workspace was in use one afternoon, practice moved to singer and guitarist Peter Richards' apartment, where they shared with each other a handful of songs in progress. Bassist and singer Claire England shared one of hers for the first time, and Peter and drummer Andrew Hall were immediately, viscerally moved by what they heard. Everything was reframed in seconds; if Dude York was once solely a vehicle for Peter's energy, and one in which he was its main character, it suddenly became a true collaboration, a neverending venture between the three of them with stops along the way in DIY spaces, makeshift studios, and anywhere else it led. "Love Is" and "Lose Control" are the first in a series of singles to be released this winter and documented evidence of this growth.
Change was something they desperately needed. A year of obsessive writing and recording became a means by which to stay sane in the wake of lost friends, visceral mood swings, and the feeling of being an active participant in destructive repetition. A job spent analyzing thousands of hours of recorded music left Peter desensitized by the tropes and conventions of songs as he once knew them, but he found beauty in pop equilibrium. Writing with new insight and clarity in mind, more collaboratively than ever before, and in an attempt to create forward motion in the face of a series of disasters, the songs that emerged hit everywhere at once.
Claire describes "Love Is," her anthemic side of the single, as an exploration into the boundaries between self-care and self-immolation: "It's about the balance between turning experiences into art and the line one crosses when realizing someone's a person and a participant in your stories as much as you are in theirs'." "Lose Control," Peter's side, is a whisper into the ear of a driver swerving into oncoming traffic, a death-drive post-punk daydream.
PAWS are Phillip Taylor, Josh Swinney and John Bonnar.
In 2012 the band released the Misled Youth EP followed shortly by their debut full length album Cokefloat!, which garnered critical acclaim from the likes of Pitchfork, The BBC and SPIN. That album, recorded by ex-Test Icicle, Rory Attwell on the boat/studio “Lightship95,” introduced the band’s explosive songwriting to the world, boiling down emotionally charged lyrics with the whiplash snap of punk. The band soon after toured with Japandroids, We Are Scientists and The Cribs and their live show proves time and again their comfort on the stage, leading SPIN Magazine to place the band at number four on their “Top 50 Best Acts at SXSW Festival in 2013.”
PAWS’ second album, Youth Culture Forever marked a significant change in strength and mood for the band. Recorded live in a home studio in the woods in upstate New York, the album captured the Scottish trio in their element. Fiercely loud and brutally raw, YCF also demonstrated emotional and dynamic depths that added new shades and colours to the sound already developed on their debut album, resulting in a record of renewed confidence and even greater scope. The band were also very humbled to see Youth Culture Forever become their second album to be nominated for The Scottish Album Of The Year Award.
The tour that followed pushed the band to new heights as musicians, continuing to forge a strong, united bond together, forcing them to dig deeper than ever before to keep their heads above water, especially when the consequences of constant travel and unfortunate circumstances reared their ugly heads. That tour, in all its theft grief and toil, cemented the idea in the band’s collective mind that in order to make something work, against all odds, you’ve gotta go big or go home….
Which brings us to album number three.
More than just the third PAWS record, No Grace is representative of a
transformative period of time in the bands life and is the
gravel-throated affirmation of that ‘do it or die’ attitude that
informs any great work of passion.
It’s the song you sing when you get kicked in the teeth; the decision
you make to get back on your feet and rattle off another punch; it’s
the humility of defeat and the ecstasy of triumph because you never
But more than anything, it’s the sound of the pure fucking energy and
joy that comes from making something with your whole heart.
As well as being a statement of intent, No Grace was that opportunity
to go big or go home. So PAWS went big.
After discovering a mutual appreciation between themselves and
bassist/producer Mark Hoppus (Blink 182/+44), PAWS enlisted his
support to help push these new songs to their wildest heights and pack
the heftiest punch they could muster.
And from the eponymous opener and first single, ‘No Grace’, it’s clear
the two are a perfect fit. Recorded last summer between Chem 19 in
Glasgow and a private studio in Somerset, it’s a partnership that
strikes hard through the core of the record, from the anthemic gut
punch of ‘N/A’ to the thrashed out madness of ‘Salt Lake’ and
‘Complete Contempt’, PAWS third album distills the best of what came
before it and builds on it with strength and confidence.
Like its been bottled up and shaken every day for the past year and
shot out point blank with every press of the play button.
These songs soar; they fill your head, swell in your heart,
rumble in your belly and consume all available space in your ear
But more than all of these things, No Grace is what happens when
instead of back down or giving in, you turn the fuck up.
We encourage you to do the same.