Dallas’s the Paper Chase offered a truly frightening sound when they emerged in the late ’90s. The rhythm section hit like shoulders to steel doors, while dissonant, jazzy guitar lines screamed in harsh, violent blurts over tinkling toy pianos and samples of knives being sharpened. Singer John Congleton shouted, moaned, and wheezed like a padded-cell denizen, and the result was not just disturbing but engrossing. But a few years back, the band began focusing on songwriting. Melodies replaced rants, hooks replaced disjointed riffing, and a band once shrouded in mystique became merely an indie group with a slightly strange cadence. Someday This Could All Be Yours Vol. 1, the band’s tribute to natural disasters, continues this trend. Tracks like “Your Money or Your Life (The Comet)” and “This Is Only a Test (The Tornado)” manage to recapture some of the band’s early charm, but for the most part, they’ve ditched their madness-centered avant-garde sound.
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