Doe Paoro represents so much that is right about current female musicianship. Following her critically acclaimed 2012 debut album, the New York songstress is back with a much more developed and accessible offering that is keen to knock some doors down and be noticed.
So will it be happily ever After for this mystifying musical creation? Doe Paoro’s quirk comes in similar doses to Swedish soul vocalist Seinabo Sey and our favourite seasoned Scandi Lykke Li. After a heavy spell of including Growth/Decay on pretty much every playlist at PressPLAY HQ, it’s ultra-pleasing to see an alt-pop diamond surrounded by kin of similar quality.
Opener Traveling is gorgeous and its simple, haunting melody that feels like your insides might be melting (in a good way). The building instrumentation is relatively sparse but nothing is missing; it’s perfection, though perhaps sets the bar too high for half of what’s to follow. In an attempt to show varied sides of her arsenal, there’s a slight danger here of mastering none. The electro-pop flavours are summoned in tracks like Nostalgia and the Gaga-esque Untethered which, funnily enough, both have a definite whiff of PWL about them. Nostalgia indeed.
Hypotheticals follows in similar vain but to be honest we could take or leave the synthpop amid the more evocative minimal creations. There’s nothing wrong with the upbeat tracks, but they feel completely misaligned with more haunting trip-hop offerings. What’s more, a lot of the tracks seem to end like a ball at the strike of midnight; it feels like the start of an interesting and enjoyable conversation that sadly ends too soon.
Still, it’s the easy delivery of lines like “I can’t find no eyes to lock with mine, nowhere we can thrive when the city is dying” in our standout track Walking Backwards that make you realise Paoro wants to convey messages about much wider issues than fairytale love and loss. Simply put, here is a lady who is writing lyrically sublime and clever music that hints at far greater things to come. It deserves to be noticed and celebrated as a showcase of great potential; this is music to lie in a field to, music to reminisce to, music to close your eyes to, as After seems to be coming before big things for this star.
After by Doe Paoro can be ordered here.