The Paper Chase's signature sounds--strangled guitars, bombastic percussion, terror-stricken strings, bizarre samples and crashing pianos--are firmly in place on their latest endeavor, Now You Are One of Us. Here, the Dallas quartet creates the sonic equivalent to George A. Romero's classic zombie films, in which one and all inevitably become "one of them."
Songwriter/singer/producer John Congleton examines the ways fear can be utilized as an instrument of control, even as it spreads like a plague across the land. Possessed by fear of pacification, domestication and ultimate dissolve, the songs' characters struggle to retain their identity. Layers of trepidation are aurally peeled away and scrutinized while a looming unknown lies just below the surface. Beyond the fear of death, is the characters' dreadful realization that perhaps they never even existed. The sound of ghostly forces opening and closing squeaky doors becomes eerily significant, and Congleton's trademark desperation is at its most crucial as he exclaims, "We will show this cruel word we were here."
Despite the disturbed poltergeists that are its roommates, The Paper Chase sounds right at home in its self-wrought haunted house. Over the album's seamless course, the band not only offers battle anthems for those who won't go down without a fight, but also the sadistic theme songs of their bloodthirsty attackers. Another histrionic epic is rendered, but we wouldn't expect anything less from Congleton and his crew.