Tabula rasa is a psychological theory that states that everybody in the world starts as a “blank slate”. As we grow older, we live life experiences and gain knowledge that build upon our personality, making us become who we are: We live, learn, adapt and evolve. By taking this theory into account, gain insight of how James & Paul’s newest full length album Tabula Rasa comes from. The album is a collection of songs that the father-son duo have been working throughout the last years, that cover a range of different topics and genres. Thus, it may be seen as an amalgamation of their ideas, emotions and experiences put into song which leave as a result an explosion of charm and personality like none before.
James & Paul is a duo made up by Paul Brown (father) and James Brown (son). They are inspired by a diverse cast of bands such as Mumford & Sons, Radiohead and Foo Fighters. While they had known each other for their whole lives and had been writing songs individually for a time, they recently discovered their chemistry and began collaborating. If you think you have an idea of what their sound is like because of their band name or backstory, you may be surprised. James & Paul’s sound is as interesting and diverse as its inspirations: A clash of folk rock with ambient, rock pop, punk, power rock, glam and electronica. Think about it as Simon and Garfunkel in overdrive, retaining their dual vocal harmonies and beautiful, poetic lyrics, while playing the craziest solos. It comes from the left field!
A few of the songs on this album are reworking from tracks that didn’t make it on the first album. Skyscraper Highs for example was a slow ballad that we speeded up to the much rockier version. As regards our songs generally we have enough ideas for another 2 albums and have plans to start recording our third album soon. We are also constantly writing new material. This is a bit frustrating as we would be in the studio all the time if we had the time and money to do this. We will continue to record songs with different musical styles and make more videos when we get time. –James & Paul
Tabula Rasa not only contains a diverse collection of genres, but also themes as well. The duo playfully and deeply examine ideas about love, the future, the present, lockdown, what-if scenarios, relationships and the cicle of birth and rebirth. They offer high beat, high adrenaline tracks and low-key emotional tearjerkers; James & Paul hop from one mood to another seamlessly. Part of it is that they retain the same building blocks for each track, guitars and harmonic vocals, and then build upon until they have an abstract musical building. And then in the next track they start once again and take us into a whole different direction.
This approach allows for very distinct tracks to appear in the same album, some of which are: “Modern Romance”, an electric rock folk reflection about how obsession can affect our relationships. “Found You” a surreal tale about a small girl so small to be found. “Freeze” is a calm emotional song about being stuck in a relationship but being afraid of ending it. “WAYCA”, When are you coming around is the tale of Bonnie and Clyde in an alternate universe where everything went fine. “Skyscraper Highs” is a punk track about toxic relationships. The title track of the album “Tabula Rasa” is an unconventional and highly effective instrumental duo of classical guitar and an 80’s style synth. The last two tracks of the album were heavily inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic. “The End” is the other instrumental track of the album. While it starts as an etheral and mystical track, it transforms into a full on heavy rock track with a blazing guitar solo. “A New Dawn” examines the cycle of end and rebirth, presenting a new beginning after difficult times. A folk track that becomes highly psychedelical by the ending, with a Led Zeppelin style guitar solo over choral harmonies.
Tabula Rasa represents all of the knowledge, experience and experiments that James & Paul have accumulated over the years, almost as if it was a photo album full of photos and clippings about distinct memories, ideas and dreams that have build the relationship the father and son duo have. It is a personal, surreal and unmissable experience that no one should miss out.
Don’t forget to support this project and to follow on Instagram, Facebook, SoundCloud, YouTube, and Spotify. It also helps to stream and share her music; you can obviously find it in the following Playlists: Less Than 1,000 Followers, Indie Only, Alterindie State Of Mind, Chill – Folk – Acoustic, 12 New Songs This Week, and Take It Easy.
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