Prior to the release of Paramore's fourth album, fans of the band could have been forgiven for wondering just exactly what sort of release the Tennessee band were going to put out. Two of the band's founding members, Josh and Zac Farro, left the group in less than harmonious circumstances towards the end of 2010, potentially robbing the band of two of its most creative influences.
The question everyone had on the tip of their tongues when the band's first album since the brothers' departure was if their leaving would affect the overall sound of the band. The answer to that question is yes; this is a wildly different sound to the majority of Paramore's previous work, which in turn hints at whatever creative differences the band had been undergoing. The fourth (self-titled, by the way) album Paramore have released is glistening with shiny, well-produced pop/rock songs and is now firmly a vehicle to exhibit vocalist Hayley Williams' obvious talents.
The collection runs too long, with its 17 tracks and almost 64 minutes crying out for some of the fat to be trimmed but the excessive duration does leave ample opportunity for Williams and her band to display their various influences rather easily. 'Now' sounds like a Yeah Yeah Yeah's song while 'Anklebiters' firmly showcases the band's punk rock roots, sort of like early No Doubt. In fact, comparisons can be made here to all the various stages of No Doubt's catalogue - up to and including Gwen Stefani's solo career.
Paramore's fourth album is their most vibrant so far. It's a curious patchwork of numerous different styles and influences and suggests that they're a band still trying to firmly define their sound after a period of transition.
Review by John Balfe