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The Blue & Gray Press | December 11, 2017

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Off the Record: "Brand New Eyes" by Paramore

By BRYANT MATERA

(4/5 stars)

Paramore’s third full-length studio effort, “Brand New Eyes,” illustrates a surprising change of pace for the rocking foursome from Franklin, Tennessee. The album switches up Paramore’s sound a bit, although not as dramtically as  Panic! At the Disco’s “Pretty. Odd.” or the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” did for those bands.
“Eyes” can almost be dissected into two distinct halves: one with the classic Paramore bite, and another with a slower, more reflective tone that sacrifices screaming guitars for a more acoustic emptiness.
For instance, songs like “Ignorance,” “Brick by Boring Brick” and “Careful” all have the same head-banging, stomp your feet, scream at the top of your lungs choruses we’ve come to expect from the band, while others, like “Misguided Ghosts” and “The Only Exception,” go in a different and strikingly uncharacteristic direction.
The band’s lyrical and compositional prowess remains at the top of its game here, with instantly hummable tunes and plenty of “in your face” moments that recall the anthemic track “Misery Business” from their previous album, “Riot!” Hayley Williams’ vocals are, as always, jaw dropping, and the guitars wail, screech and soar as you’d expect.
Some will likely be turned off by the fact that Paramore seems to have toned themselves back a bit on “Eyes,” but the quintet appears to have prepared themselves for this possibility when front-woman Williams sings, “I guess you can’t accept that the change is good.”
Although “Brand New Eyes” might not be the follow-up some have been expecting, it explores new territory while still remaining a worthy sequel to “All We Know is Falling” and “Riot!” Beyond being an absolute must-buy for Paramore fans, “Brand New Eyes” is top-notch work from a truly talented and incredible band and is definitely worth checking out.