Paul Meadow – Cheap & Easy

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This EP is produced by Gabriel Galvin & Paul Meadow Recorded by Amanda DeCastro @ Dubway Studios and Gabriel Galvin @ Four Foot Studios. It’s their second release, “Cheap & Easy” and it features “Killer Of Dreams.” At first glance, you’d be forgiven if you thought Paul Meadow was a single person. But alas, it’s merely the moniker of Brooklyn duo Stirling Krusing and Chris Lee. Labeling their sound as slop folk, Paul Meadow have dazzled fans in their native borough for the better part of the past few years.

This is a duo out of Brooklyn with jingle experience. There is an eclectic mixture of styles to say the least on these five tracks of variety that also stick well to their script. I like every single one of them but wish at least that the tracks were longer or it went full on with an album of such spirited music. These players are well seasoned professionals and that is the first thing you notice. I’m not going to dwell on that because it’s a small complaint but I generally follow that rule of thumb as most do, when reviewing EP’s. But this is different from the get go because it’s so strong, so complex, so tight, so loose and just plain good you can make exception to any rule. I listened for the last week and it came down to consistency for me, as not one of these tracks hold more or less weight than the other. I love the way they get right down and ad a mainstream touch to go with their “slop folk” feel, which isn’t something that exactly dominates their music, it’s more of texture added to the songs, than a hardcore thing, so don’t be fooled by this apparent sub-genre of Americana because it isn’t even like that. There is too much going on with this band to take that so literally. One listen to this whole release and that clearly evident. It tells you to be careful with categories. The opening track is “I Love This Town’ and it’s the first shred of proof of what I mean. This is practically to die for, with a throwback vibe all the way to 1982. These guys appreciate the past and embrace the future and it’s laced throughout their sound, and the content is a breath of fresh air at the same time. It’s quite a thing of beauty. I can see where one might be critical if they’re looking for a heavier folk dominance, since it’s labeled that way, but this rings of even bands like The Cure and REM, which have to be influences. Both the vocals and guitars are of maximum excellence. I’m not as crazy as “Heart Of A Dog,” but it could be the EP’s dark horse track, pulling off a sleeper performance. I mean there are some cliché’s here, but I’m never one to bit like a dog on them either, so if they align with your criteria for them, no harm no foul. It’s just a little on the commercial side, losing half a point because of that for me. The guitars start to shine here and they don’t let up on the rest of the showing. “Cheap & Easy” is right at about the same level, with a groovy sound, it’s a lazy sort of arranged cut with lots of dreary vocals. It mostly repeats the title in chorus fashion to drive the point of the record home. Like the previous track it’s where things drag a little but since they’re surrounded by such good gems that is only another small gripe. That brings everything to the high point with the extraordinary “Killer Of Dreams” but it’s my second favorite and I even like the final track just as much, so for me it’s almost a come down compared to those, but it sits in the right place between the others to make it stand out so well. I say don’t be fooled by anything here because this music harkens back to the day when you always had something to look forward to hearing on a weekly basis, which is all but gone anymore in today’s modern music recycle-machine. This track is pop perfect in every way, by a couple of more or less country flavored musicians, and it amazing how they pull it all off.

It’s even topped off with the humor of “The Devil You Know,” which sums up their light hearted attitudes and even stretches out a little on the production side, which it also score top marks in the department of. It goes to show the more you know someone, the more you get to know better. These are all great tracks by a band who just needs to make an album to really prove their powers, as they go from folk to pop rock with the greatest of ease.


SP Clarke