Australian indie-folk act The Paper Kites release their fifth studio album, Roses. With their brand of weather-beaten ballads and rain-drenched pop, the ten-track album bleeds with gentle significance, full of power and sentimentality.
"If you were to walk along a busy street, and something caught your eye - something small that had no business being there-but you picked it up and put it in your pocket, you couldn't say why-but for some reason, you kept it with you - to me, that's our music," says frontman Sam Bentley.
The first collaborative release from the band, the album features a powerhouse of female accompanists in Lucy Rose (UK), Julia Stone (AU), Nadia Reid (NZ), Maro (PT), Aoife O'Donovan (US), Rosie Carney (IE) Ainslie Wills (AU), Amanda Bergman (SE), Lydia Cole (NZ) and Gena Rose Bruce (AU). "I had written these songs and had always wanted to do an album like this, but I remember almost scrapping the whole project because it felt too hard. It was about finding the right voices for the songs - artists that couldn't just sing but had something deep and moving in the way they sang - and that's not every singer - it's rare."
Produced by Bentley and Tom Iansek (#1 Dads, Big Scary), The Paper Kites' upcoming album Roses is a deeply moving collection of songs, helmed by a cherished selection of artists. "It's an album of duets - for lack of a better word," Sam explains. "A collection of songs we had written and wanted to record with these artists." An alluring, dynamic, and diverse company, the 'Rosesvocalists' were handpicked by the band to feature on the new album. "It was first and foremost about finding the voices and artists we felt were right for each song," adds Sam."Als je op een drukke straat zou lopen en iets zou opvallen - iets kleins dat daar niets te zoeken had - maar je raapt het op en stopt het in je zak, je kunt niet zeggen waarom, maar om de een of andere reden heb je het bij je gehouden - voor mij is dat onze muziek," zegt frontman Sam Bentley.
'Roses' opens with 'Walk Above The City' featuring prolific Portuguese singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist MARO. The track's harmonies glisten, coated with soul-soothing vocals and thoughtfully layered instrumentals, accompanied by the signature songwriting artistry the Australian indie-folk outfit is known for. "I remember Marowas the first artist that agreed to be on the album, which was perfect because she was the first artist in a long time who stopped me in my tracks when I heard her sing. We saw her play in Munich with Jacob Collier, and I'd never heard anything like her voice. I didn't find out until we connected a few months later that she was a fan of our band. It was really special to do that song with her."
'Climb On Your Tears' features Grammy award-winning US bluegrass artist Aoife O'Donovan, who, as well as her solo albums, is well known as the lead singer of bluegrass/string band Crooked Still and has been featured on records with Chris Thile & Yo-Yo Ma. "We were fortunate to have Aoife; she's an American treasure and such a beautiful voice. For some reason, I felt we needed a bluegrass singer on that song even though it wasn't indicative of the genre-but she loved the song and was excited to be involved; her voice is amazing - you can hear that bluegrass soul in her singing."
New Zealand folk queen Nadia Reid features on 'Take Me Home', Bentley recalls the challenges of recording an album as the world shut down. "We managed to fly Nadiaover to Melbourne to record that song just before both of our countries closed their borders-we didn't know it was coming; she had just released her third album and had a huge tour lined up that she had to cancel. I don't think she knew that was the last time she'd get to travel internationally or record in a studio that year, but I'm certainly glad we could get her here to do that song. There's something moving in that song."
Similarly, much loved Melbourne artists Ainslie Wills & Gena Rose Bruce were both able to record in the studio with the band before the city was locked down. The band reached out to all corners of the globe to their collaborators, some long-time friends like New Zealand's Lydia Cole on their song 'Dearest'. "Lydiais truly one of my favorite songwriters, I'd been looking for a reason to have her involved on one of our records for a while, but this was the first time we were able to."
Australian legend Julia Stone, better known as one half of brother/sister duo Angus & Julia Stone, is featured on the conversational duet 'Without Your Love'. "I grew up listening to Julia'smusic, and some of her work was pivotal in turning me down the road I went. To approach her and have her love that song and want to sing on it was an amazing full circle moment-she's such an important figure of the folk revival in Australia, and I don't think we would be a band without them leading the way. It was a real honor to work with her."
'For All You Give' was recorded with UK songstress Lucy Rose in a small upstairs room while the band was in Brighton last year. "I remember Rosie Carney recording 'By My Side' on the floor of her London flat; she was so concerned because she wasn't used to recording without an engineer present. I think she felt it wouldn't sound good enough. But, it's remarkable what we can achieve these days in terms of collaborations and home recording technology from the other side of the world-she sent her vocals over, and they were so beautiful."
As well as approaching artists that they knew and loved for the album, certain songs gave way to discovering new artists. Such was the case with Sweden's Amanda Bergman. "'Crossfire' was a song we got stuck on, I couldn't find a vocalist that I felt was right for the song, and I was scouring the depths of Spotify but couldn't find anything until one day I somehow came across Amanda Bergman. Her music is so good, and I couldn't believe I hadn't heard of her before. I managed to get in contact with her, she lives out on a farm in remote Sweden, and she really liked the song, and luckily they had a studio on the farm, so she recorded it and sent it to us-her voice is incredible-so much depth and soul, we were so glad to have her on that song."
Melbourne indie-folk five-piece The Paper Kites have won over tens of thousands of fans worldwide since their debut EPs – 'Young North' and 'Woodland', the latter featuring Gold-certified track 'Bloom,' 2013 saw the band release their highly anticipated debut album 'States', which debuted at #17 on the ARIA Albums chart and #5 on the ARIA Australia Albums chart. With their sophomore album 'twelvefour', The Paper Kites crafted a delicate yet dynamic album full of color and sound that properly captured the band's evolution. Collaborating with Los Angeles film-noir artist Gina Higgins on the album's artwork, the band surprised dropped 'On The Train Ride Home' (2018), the first part of a two-part release, with the second album 'On The Corner Where You Live' released later the same year. Having toured across four continents, 24 countries, The Paper Kites have played to sold-out crowds worldwide. With over 400 million combined streams and nearly 3 million monthly listeners on Spotify, the band continues to amass new fans wherever they go.
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