Paper Crows are an alternative electronic duo composed of Emma Panas and Duncan McDougall. Originating from London, the pair initially bonded over a mutual love of Bjork and Kate Bush, who have collectively been the most prominent influence on the band’s sound. The group released their debut single, Stand Alright in October 2010 on Future Cut records, and recently released a new double a side Fingertips/Follow the Leader in March.
Paper Crows have a haunting, ethereal quality to their music, which is mostly made up of thick prominent bass sounds – acoustic, electronic and synth style bass timbres are all involved – and diverse synth textures. Synth sounds originate diversely, from 1970s style sci-fi soundtracks to dubstep, and everything in-between. The group’s usage of synth is similar in style to trip-hop artists such as Nedry and Errors, but there is also more dynamic instrumentation at play throughout their music, including strings, acoustic guitars, pianos and tuned percussion. Their instrumentation in general is much more diverse than many of their alternative-electro contemporaries (who seem to typically stick to minimalist experimentation at present), and is probably most reminiscent stylistically of the wonderful Bat For Lashes.
Vocally this duo are also strong, with soft, captivating, feminine vocals. Panas has a clear, strong vocal talent, which alternates between deep and stirring or delicate and subtle depending on mood. There are numerous effects and overdubbs laid over the vocals, which adds depth to the vocal texture and lends it a truly instrumental quality.
Paper Crows have a very interesting, curious and challenging sound, with a comprehensible amount of thought, talent and consideration put into every track. With a new album set for release this year, these guys are definitely set for success in 2011 – I guarantee it.