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Paint It Pink

Paper Mice

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Album Review

How much do you love the Minutemen? Probably not half as much as Paper Mice; listening to the Chicago trio's first album, Paint It Pink, it's just about impossible not to think of the three dudes from Pedro as Dave Reminick's sharp, angular guitar lines crash into Adam McCormack's rubbery basslines and John Carroll's muscular, funky drum patterns (and Reminick's voice even sounds a bit like D. Boon). Paper Mice recall the What Makes a Man Start Fires? edition of the Minutemen, only with a Project: Mersh level of chops, and one would guess that McCormack has listened to as much Les Claypool as Mike Watt. But if you're going to fashion yourself after a band, the Minutemen are a far better role model than most, and Paper Mice bring a frantic and witty lyrical absurdity to their tunes, whether they're singing about a secret weapon that turns soldiers gay ("WMG"), remarkably inept criminals ("I Want to Go to Prison"), rodent arsonists ("Burning Down the Mouse"), or why you should not put a sex toy in your luggage while flying ("Pump Fake"). Paper Mice also happen to be very good at what they do; their approach may be derivative, but they don't miss a trick of what made the Minutemen musically memorable, and they play with a taut energy and sharp focus that are legitimately impressive. And cranking through 16 songs in 23 minutes, they've also learned the important of concision, a lesson many of their peers would do well to study. Paint It Pink doesn't get high marks for originality, but the execution is pretty remarkable, and if Paper Mice can fuse some worthy ideas of their own to this level of ability, they'll have something pretty amazing in store for listeners some day.

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