There are some gems in and amongst This Is History – opening with the lovely “Set fire to the English rose”. It seems to be aiming high for “Upbeat Apple advert shout-along”, layering singalong harmonies and familiar melodies from the emotional pop-rock canon.
As the slightly wonky pop-punk staccato verses kick in it becomes apparent that the lack of big studio production means it falls just short of its intention. Duplication of too many identical guitar and vocal sounds, unfortunately, make this rather cluttered, lacking a bit of authentic, natural depth.
Paul might have gone all-out to record every element himself, which is always commendable, but in this case, makes for a slightly artificial feel. The vocals are strained, a crowd of layered Paul Shepherds are shouting at you. It’s not bad, but it’s a bit off – lacking an industrial dose of conviction in the many many “woah-ohs” and some shiny production to match its big ambitions.
There’s something endearing in the hopeful, nostalgic spirit of This Is History, It just lacks the simple, grass-roots charm of the rest of the EP. The rest of this release is dialled back a little with room to breathe and perfectly serviceable. Have a listen to ‘Getaway’.