Throughout ‘Paper Prisms’, the debut full-length from Cheshire trio Simmer, there is a consistent hedonistic quality on show. Having founded a punk-meets-shoegaze sound with last year’s ‘Yellow Streak’ EP, this full-length sees Simmer become wrapped in the ethereal coating that provided the basis last time round. Dominated by a wave of feedback and reverb guitars and distant vocals, ‘Paper Prisms’ serves as the ideal step up for the three-piece.
Early cuts such as ‘Faze’ and ‘Antwerp’ develop a ebb and flow theme with crashing percussion complimenting Julius Schiazza’s impassioned vocals whilst the latter introduces a more tranquil pace to proceedings. However, ‘Paper Prisms’ isn’t made to pick out certain tracks. Like most albums, it is made to be listened to as a whole piece. The plucky ‘Calendar’ rolls into ‘Sinewy’ and its subtle vibrancy before ‘Gold’ interupts with its understated punk-fuelled energy.
Throughout ‘Paper Prisms,’ Simmer make good use out of various elements; a palette of effects, layered instrumentation and overall well-paced songs. A prime example of this can be found in ‘Charles’, as stirring guitars weave in and out amongst Schiazza’s atmospheric voice. It is worth noting that throughout the record, Schiazza’s vocals never serve as focal point and considered to be just one of many layers to Simmer’s sound.
Whilst there is a strong sense of consistency, the band’s style gradually becomes tiresome during the latter stages. The downtrodden guitars, distant vocals and dainty percussion on ‘Crease’ sends the album into a hazy conclusion. This is where my issue with ‘Paper Prisms’ lies. I partly admire it for its consistency and compelling presentation, yet it is stylistically content. The mishmash of shoegaze, emo and punk is admittedly unique but on ‘Caliche’ and the title track, there is a lack of impact sending the record into a partial lull.
Nevertheless amongst the fuzzy guitars and foggy vocals, there is still a promising band on the verge of doing something really special. Equally expansive and immersive, ‘Paper Prisms’ serves as a steady foundation for a band that lightly hint at their versatility.
‘Paper Prisms’ by Simmer. is out now on Dog Knights Productions.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)