Paper Route#039;s heart will go on at the Middle East on Friday

by Beacon Staff • February 4, 2009

The members of the band Paper Route say they consider iAlice in Wonderland/i, iJurassic Park/i and the soundtrack to the movie iTitanic/i to be their biggest influences, along with iTop Gun/i and magic tricks. This list of inspirations, found on their Facebook and MySpace pages, might seem random and somewhat unrealistic. However, once the five trippy tunes on their latest EP, iAre We All Forgotten/i, are played through, that list makes more sense.

Combining piano, xylophone sounds and heavy synthesizers, this Nashville, Tenn. band is a fusion of Coldplay, The Postal Service and Keane. Their style is spacey and celestial, but they definitely don't shy away from a hard guitar driven beat or seriously synthesized drums.

So when they play at The Middle East in Cambridge on Feb. 6, concert-goers better be ready to tune in to the Route and tune out of reality.

According to band member Chad Howat on the Paper Route MySpace page, the band was formed in the summer of 2004 underneath his bunk bed. There he began manufacturing beats on his iBook.

The idea that one person can sit at their computer and create music and call it a band is a stark contrast from the early days of recording music. Instead of an extensive mixing panel, large amps and massive tape machines, Howat sat down at his laptop and began producing music by just clicking his mouse.

After that night, JT Daly, a close friend and old bandmate of Howat's, joined his project on keyboards and vocals. A month later, another friend and former bandmate of Howat's, his upstairs neighbor Andy Smith, began contributing vocals, guitar, harmonica and synths.

After Paper Route released two EPs, iEP/i in August 2006 on Drama Club Records and iA Thrill of Hope/i in December 2006 without a label, they decided to start performing live. That's when drummer Gavin McDonald joined the band and the line-up was complete. They released iAre We All Forgotten/i in August 2008.

The first track, "American Clouds," is a synthesized tour de force. Beginning with a quick, yet quiet, beat and organ produced chords, it doesn't take long for this song to swing into full force with rumbling guitars and celestial clamors. The title track, "Are We All Forgotten," is psychedelic with its echoing reverberations. It then breaks into a fast paced combination of high-pitched guitars and racing drums.

"Empty House" jumps to life right away with tambourine beats, guitars, lots of drums and some synths thrown together. With the sound mixing and high-pitched vocal arrangements, "House" is reminiscent of 1980s synth pop.

"You Kill Me" has an industrial style to it, like it was recorded in an old factory in New York City. Then with the addition of church bells, violins and cellos, it becomes a myriad of sounds and noises smashed together in harmonious perfection.