The People the Poet are about to release their new EP Paradise Closed, and if you like alternative/rock that spans the decades, then this album is one for you.
It starts off with the energetic “Happy Being Miserable” in which lead singer Leon Stanford repeats over and over again “we’re all so happy being miserable” and questions if anyone is ever truly happy. This is catchy alternative rock at its finest and would be well suited for the radio. There are some 90s vibes to the tune, a tinge of The Goo Goo Dolls is heard mixed with some other 90s popular bands, and it embraces that retro element so well that it could easily be mistaken for an authentic song from that period of time. With its bursting enthusiasm, despite the solemn lyrics, it’s easy to see why this is the opening track, as it sets the tone for the rest of the EP.
“Club 27,” relies heavily on a Coldplay feel, mostly due to the chameleon of a singer that is Leon Stanford. But the slow natured vocals, set against a more midtempo instrumental, also helps to contribute to the comparison. There’s a lot of soul to be found on this tune, Stanford rising to the occasion to deliver a powerful ballad. The chorus is catchy, and by the time one reaches near the end of the song Stanford’s voice becomes much more gruff, a Bruce Springsteen-like tone, which kicks the track up another level. The content of the song refers to the “club” that so many singers have tragically joined, dying at the age of 27. It’s a nice sentiment and is executed well, never too sappy to truly appreciate what The People the Poet are trying to accomplish with this particular tune, in paying tribute to the musicians that have passed too soon.
Next up on the EP is “Matchday” which sees Stanford’s vocals go back and forth between Bruce Springsteen and Brandon Flowers, of the The Killers, territory. In fact, it sounds like the type of tune that either of those artists could have released themselves in their careers. But The People the Poet make sure that their sound is never derivative, and they put their original stamp on the song with pitch perfect falsetto and standout lyrics. The fact that this particular track sounds both old and new is something to marvel at because so many artists can strive for this factor on their compositions and never quite reach it, and that alone makes “Matchday” one of the strongest tracks on the EP.
“Same Heart,” without a doubt. comes across as more modern, say in Kings of Leon ballpark. It is strong and doesn’t quit the whole way through. At this point in the album, each new song still feels new and surprising as the band finds different areas to tap into while still maintaining their signature sound. Finding that balance can be something that is hard to do but The People the Poet make it seem effortless.
Meanwhile “Needle in the Haystack,” which is a bit gentler, especially in the soft vocals, has a bit of a U2 vibe to it with a dash of Pearl Jam. These comparisons are written with the highest intentions and regard and are meant to only give readers a sense of what they can expect from the album while still knowing that nothing is repetitive or a copy of other artists. The People the Poet definitely have their own sound which is explored in every track on the EP and the influences, intentional or not, will give listeners a familiar but also new sensation.
The last track on the album “When the Fire Goes Out,” is without a doubt the best on a near flawless album. It’s the only true ballad and while that fact alone helps the song standout, it’s the beautiful lyrics and Stanford’s smooth vocals that really make the track shine. Go outside at night, sit under the stars and crank this tune up as the song just begs to be heard and fully experienced in nature taking in all the beauty and pain of the universe. It’s a mood that cannot be replicated, and comes from a place of such sincerity that it makes “When the Fire Goes Out” that much more endearing.
Paradise Closed is one of the most solid EP’s to be released in 2016, so when April 1st rolls around make sure to pick up a copy for yourself and tell your friends about the magic The People the Poet are waiting to share.