The Pavers are the best band you’ve never heard of.
When I did a search for the Pavers in the reviews section and nothing came up, I was a bit surprised...but not surprised at the same time. In their existence, the Pavers somehow managed to stay under the punk public’s radar almost completely. Despite their first album not only being released on the wonderful Owned & Operated label, but produced by the illustrious Bill Stevenson (of Black Flag, Descendents, ALL fame). It really is a rather sad story. In the band’s six-year career ('97-'02), to my knowledge (info on these guys is hard to find), the Pavers recorded some of the best punk rock music released in years. Yet, still, they never achieved even minor punk rock popularity. So here I am now, a few years later, reviewing their first album for you guys in hopes that I can spread a little word about this amazing band, and hopefully get some of you guys into them.
Now, just a little more background info about these guys, then I’ll get on with the review. In case you didn’t already know, the Pavers are fronted by the brilliant Scott Reynolds (ALL, Goodbye Harry). The rest of the band members are mostly relatively unknown (to my knowledge) outside of Buffalo, NY, but are all very capable musicians. Two guitarists (Eric and Tim), a bassist (Mark), and drummer (Josh) make up the band along with Scott, so it’s all pretty standard.
Now, onto the actual album. Out of all the Pavers’ releases (three EPs, two albums) their first album Local 1500 will always be my favorite. A bona fide “punk rock explosion,” if you will, the band wastes no time getting things going. Clocking it at just over a minute and thirty seconds, “No Laughing” is a pretty standard Reynolds song. Catchy, lyrically interesting and upbeat, it appropriately sets the stage for a twisting ride of an album. Following the first track comes the fantastic “1 To 10,” a humorous song mainly about managing your anger. The spoken word intro makes me chuckle every time, and the awesome instrumentals will make you want to dance all around your room whilst singing along with Reynolds’ flawless vocals.
Next up is “Mr. Shepherd’s Bandage,” definitely one of my favorite songs on the album. Razor sharp guitars accompany Scott’s telling of the experience of a man injured in World War II. The vocals are truly chilling, especially on the bridge, with Scott wailing his heart out. This song really shows off some amazing songwriting, with verses like "White cotton gauze still running red without a pause / While everyone forgets the 'cause / Of the honor there beneath the gauze / That goes on and on / For Mr. Shepherd."
“The Trees” contains some of Scott’s craziest vocals on the album, with him rapidly spouting off lines about a woman named Rosie and a man named William. Fascinating song, I recommend looking up the lyrics as there are too many good verses to list here. Coming in next is the hilarious “You’re A Sicko Dad,” another narrative, this time about suburban life and a perverse dad (kinda reminds me of the movie "American Beauty"). Very funny lyrics, and super catchy music. “Oscillator” is an amazing song, with some of my favorite instrumental work on the album, and some of the best lyrics the record has to offer as well. It's easily the darkest song on the album, offering up lines such as "I gave you the knife but you made the incision / I poured the salt / Yeah this is all my fault." “Humiliation” is a blazing punk rock track, with a singalong chorus and more high quality instrumental work. Reynolds’ voice is again perfect for the song, especially in the faster passages, which is where he usually shines. This song will be stuck in your head all day.
Ah, “Peanut.” After seven tracks, we finally get a nice, slower song. Scott really shows off his voice here, making it pleasant and clear, as opposed to the harsh, rapid vocals he’s mostly known for. It’s essentially a deceptively happy but really sad song about parents using their kids as tools to make themselves look better, rather than treating them like actual human beings; "Peanut laugh, Peanut smile, no Peanut don't cry. It ain't adorable. / Angels ain't angels with snot nose and red running eyes."
Next up is “Tie Me Up,” a good, fast punk rock track with a nice catchy chorus. “Scary Eyes” is an upbeat, catchy song about…well, a girl’s scary eyes. The vocal style on this song reminds me somewhat of the opening track, another great, catchy song. “Bleach” is a chilling song, basically about cleaning up this fucked up world…for a girl, of course. “Bilge Rat” is another speedy punk song, somewhat in the vein of “The Trees", but less wordy. It’s a great head-banger, especially towards the middle. “Mysterious” is a nice, slightly slower song, that’ll have you singing along and head-banging all the same, with more awesome instrumental work -- I absolutely love the vocals toward the 1:25ish mark, really showing off Scott’s range. “Breakfast” is easily the fastest song on the album, mostly detailing the scolding of young children. As with any Reynolds’ song, however, the are numerous other subjects detailed in the 1:49 the song possesses.
With a constant handclap and moderate tempo, “Pig” is a somewhat bluesy, catchy rocker, perfectly setting up the absolutely brilliant final track, “Silver Moon.” After 30 minutes of intense, high powered and intelligent pop-punk, “Silver Moon” comes in, bringing everything to a screeching halt. Just Reynolds’ with a piano backing, “Silver Moon” is 2:55 of some fantastic singing. I can’t say enough good things about this song, it’s just wonderful, nice and low key with Reynolds’ voice resonating beautifully as he sings such memorable lines as "Foolish daydreams at nighttime talk to the moon / Outside my window lurks my future / Can't close my eye 'cause it might come / And I'd miss it for sleeping, that would be shameful / Dad makes sure I'm ready to snatch it up / Made me grateful for the chance." As much as I love the song, they aren't my *favorite* lyrics, but it’s fitting.
So, in conclusion, if you do not own this album, you are doing yourself a massive injustice. I do apologize for the rather long review, but I feel anything less would be an insult to easily the most overlooked band of the last decade. I’d also recommend checking out all their other releases, they’re all on the same level as this one. In fact, I’d say that they haven’t recorded any songs that are anything less than fantastic.
Also, if you like the Pavers, check out Goodbye Harry’s two albums -- they basically sound like a less musically mature Pavers. They're a bit “wackier,” melding multiple styles on their albums; they even through a country song in there.
Oh, and to any of you douches who are just gonna post "ROFL WHY ARE YOU REVIEWING A FIVE YEAR OLD ALBUM STUPID FACE ROFL," I'll tell you why right now and save you the trouble: It's a fucking great album, and not enough people have heard it. That's all I have to say really, and again, sorry for the lengthy review.