The Peace of Wild Things
Paper Route’s 2012 sophomore long-player sounds light-years ahead of its 2009 debut, Absence. Aside from a tour between albums, this could be attributed to the fact that before recording The Peace of Wild Things, the Nashville trio moved into the same dwelling: an old plantation house dubbed “Joy Mansion.” It was there that J.T. Daly, Chad Howat, and Gavin McDonald honed their craft to such perfection that the opening synth-pop anthem, “Love Letters,” plays with the assured confidence and refined musicianship of a third or fourth studio album. Without former band member Andy Smith, who provided Prince-inspired falsettos, Daly ramps up his range as heard in the chorus of “Better Life,” a romantic tune with retro synthesizers and a heaving refrain that could accompany an '80s Brat Pack movie. “You and I” is a salient single that similarly invokes memories of Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark and INXS’ contribution to the Pretty in Pink soundtrack, but the winsome “You and I” perfectly balances bygone influences with originality.