“You can have what you want,” Papercuts’ Jason Quever sings on the title track of his third album. Only what he means is, you can’t.
“You grow up hearing that you can have whatever you want, but there are so few people who are actually at peace. I think it’s just the limitations of humanity: why happiness is so elusive, when it seems so simple.”
Papercuts’ album is drenched in this discernable longing. “I like dreamy pop music – I like the mystery. Anybody can buy a computer and make a pristine recording, but it’s just not as exciting as leaving in these strange artefacts in which give it character and definition,” Jason explains over his morning coffee. Recorded onto tape, each shimmering three-minute gasp of pop on his new album is immersed in layers of extra noise – reverb, distortion, drums, and organs with weird frequencies.
Obscured melodies and hidden meanings speak volumes of Quever’s personal humility. Though his last album, 2007’s ‘Can’t Go Back’, was critically praised, Quever himself immediately reviled the album for the way people picked up on its more retro elements. “I honestly wish the last record didn’t exist,” he says quietly, that soft vocal falsetto audible in each word. “I used to have to get really drunk to play the last record live – a lot of the old songs were only recording tricks, that band doesn’t exist.”
This time Quever is trying a new approach. He’s currently recording Port O’Brien at his home studio, and explains: “[Port O’Brien] were reading the comments on their Youtube video and laughing about them. That would have had me in bed with a bottle of whiskey! But I try and learn how not to get hurt by things, because some people have thick skin, so I should just, uh, be more like them, the people that don’t care, you know?”
Maybe that’s what Quever wants. But his music, saturated in a humanistic frustration and fear of the unknown, could never come from someone that doesn’t care. On some level, he’s aware of that, and better prepared for it, too: “at least if people don’t like this record I can think ‘fuck you, I know this is good.’” And he’ll be right.