REVIEW: White Lung transport us to ‘Paradise’

white lung paradise

Artist: White Lung
Album: Paradise
Genre: Post-Punk
Label: Domino

2014’s Deep Fantasy brought about a whole new level of exposure and acclaim for White Lung. For an idea of its impact, Rolling Stone rated it as the 38th greatest punk album of all time.

No pressure for the follow-up, right?

Instead of repeating themselves or going further down the fuzzed-out production rabbit hole, White Lung decided to clean things up for Paradise.

Now, this doesn’t mean they have abandoned the elements that got them this far. This certainly still sounds like White Lung with Mish Barber-Way’s haunting vocals, Kenny William’s jaw-dropping guitars and Anne-Marie Vassiliou’s pounding drums. The band’s work in the past had a slightly muffled sound, with the vocals being especially buried. Thanks largely to Lars Stalfors’ production, everything rings with a previously unheard clarity.

The band brings a new pop sensibility to the table, too. Need proof? Stack “Below” against anything they have done before. Aside from the ornate music video, it is an especially jangly tune with Mish taking her vocals to new heights. Opener, “Dead Weight,” exemplifies everything one would like about the band and is a dynamite way to introduce things. “Kiss Me When I Bleed” is a figurative barn-burner with withering lyrics that dispel any notion Mish would have softened her lyrical approach with her newfound marital bliss. The first track released to the public was a music video for “Hungry” and it was a wonderful hint of what was to come. “Vegas” starts off with one of the heaviest riffs we have ever heard from the band, so don’t go thinking they have gone soft on us, either. The title track ramps up the speed and ends the whole album with a bang.

White Lung has always kept their albums very brief and this one is no exception. Coming in just shy of 30 minutes, it absolutely flies by. Given the fact that every song here is a scorcher, odds are you’ll be taking many repeat trips to Paradise in the near future.

SCORE: 9/10

J.J. Ellis

J.J. Ellis hosts Decent Exposure Radio every Friday night on WXLV where he spins tunes (if it rocks, it's fair game) and shares interviews that he conducts.Whenever he isn't doing that, J.J. is a sketch comedy writer and occasional improviser.Lastly, he is the Allentown DVD Examiner where he watches and reviews things that come out to home video.
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