Reviewed by Oscar Hyde
Paul Demer is just 20 years old, but has, according to his biography, written hundreds of songs; five of the best are collected here for the world's enjoyment. 'Barks Of Yore' is a very tightly-constructed little EP, but certainly not afraid to try new styles of song. The melodies are far from simplistic, twisting and turning, leaving resolution for later, as slippery as the Shins' famously non-committal tunes. The lyrics are never particularly strong - "I don't know which way is up now, and I don't know which way is down", for example - but certainly varied, from the very sweet romance of "Your Smile Is A Sun Ray" to the quoted Romans of "Enemy Inside Of Me". Paul's voice has a little whine to it, along the lines of Never Shout Never's Christofer Drew; it doesn't grate, though it has some room to grow. The strings that show up on the final two tracks are occasionally surprisingly rich, especially for the near-epic closer "Sending Out A Dove", which occasionally almost recalls Sufjan Stevens's "Chicago". The song manages to surge with inspiration and hope while steering clear of glurge-soaked chords, comparing a temporary trial with Noah enduring the flood. I, for one, look forward to seeing Paul's talents develop.
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