Have you ever wondered what a female-fronted Avett Brothers would sound like? After searching for too long, I've settled on Paper Bird as the closest it gets. It's not the bluegrass/newgrass similarities alone that make the comparison apt. The band's latest, Rooms, is a soulful string album that is, like the Avett Brothers, a down-to-earth endeavor. Though the seven-member Denver band dabbles in some convention, it uses a constant vocal harmony to guide the songs more than any single instrument.
Rooms swaps electric for acoustic, and occasionally a capella for instrumental, in the same way an adept swing dancer changes spins and directions. Still, it would be nice to hear one voice take the lead more often. The gospel sound has its place, and some linesor entire tracks for that matterwould be better left to one singer.
The break between "Hold it Down" and "Through These Days" provides a demarcation in the album from faster pop-style songs to the down-low ballads of the second half. While either style could fit two separate EPs (or two separate bands), the combination works to suit the larger cross-section of folk-minded ears.
Paper Bird plays Stage 112 Sat., June 22, at 9 PM. $8/$5 advance. $5 surcharge for ages 18-20.