If you’ve not yet heard the music of 2 Paper Dolls, Not Alright is the perfect place to begin. The duo are pushing forwards with live songs and original releases this year, and this latest single is a stunner.
Not Alright begins as a gentle folk-pop offering, you can appreciate the organic set-up initially – the leading voice is expressive and characterful, presenting these intimate and thoughtful lyrics in a quietly genuine manner. The direct addressing of a significant other, the angst and the regret – all of this is fairly easy to relate to for most; the way the song has been written allows it to be both deeply personal and accessible to a wider audience. This sort of relationship turmoil is all too common, which makes this the perfect song to escape into.
Even if you’re not conceptually on par with the subject matter though, the way this soundscape and melody progresses and develops is beautiful. Everything paves the way well towards what is a simple but brilliantly effective hook – Ask me how I am, ’cause I’m not alright, I’m not alright… This melodic peak is everything it needs to be in order to make it satisfying and memorable. This moment resolves the anticipation of earlier, the music and the notes see the mood rise, the energy increases, and there’s a sudden sense of brightness and possibility in place of the earlier unsettled aura.
2 Paper Dolls make music that just works – their songwriting is top notch, feeling somewhat Fleetwood Mac inspired on occasion, slightly retro and nostalgic in being so. The soundscape grows to become much more colourful, flickers of electro-pop enter the arena to reinforce the rising energy, and the entire song ends on an optimistic high. A beautiful track, wonderfully addictive in a cleverly alt-pop fashion. A band well worth looking out for over the coming months.