[RATING: 1.5]

Videos by American Songwriter

With two EPs under the belt in ‘07 that bought them plenty of press to put their debut, Dialog, on the map, Nashville four-piece Paper Rival nevertheless fall in that awkward space between their indie trappings and corporate radio-rock roots. For instance, vocalist Jake Rolleston’s pinched scream should recall the unearthed aggression of ‘90s post-punk consummates Jawbox, but tend to bend toward the faux metal of Creed-both for the timbre of his growl and spiritual subtleties that seep into the lyrics. Melodically, Paper Rival do their best to call up Death Cab for Cutie’s endearing drama, but for all their grimey guitar freak-outs and harmonic textures that actually aren’t half bad, Dialog plays as merely a hackneyed knock-off.

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