Paperbacks Lit From Within

Paperbacks Lit From Within
Of course, the notion of putting together a double album is ludicrous because everybody knows that they would always make a better single album ― just ask Stephen Merritt. Yet there are still bands, like Winnipeggers the Paperbacks, who get it into their head that an epic collection of 32 songs spread over two CDs is a good idea. In this case, however, it is. Lit From Within is a huge jump forward for the band in so many ways. They've always had consistency but their level of focus on such a sprawling album is impressive. The easiest point of reference is still the Weakerthans, or rather a less spiky version, although there's a bit more fuzz on display than previously. The songs have wit, emotion and introspection, all with chiming guitars and tasteful harmonies, and most importantly, don't all blend together even after a couple of hours. Naturally, a little bit of fat could have been trimmed, but it would lessen the overall effort. The only issue with Lit From Within is that because it's released in January, it might be forgotten by the time the lists of top Canadian albums for 2010 are compiled. If there is any justice at all, it won't just be remembered, it will be near the top. (Parliament of Trees)