Last month, we premiered “Jazzy Jeff,” the new single and first-recorded peep indie-pop project Paper Holland has made since 2013’s Happy Belated. In the three-plus years since its impressive and emotive debut, the band tacked on a rhythm section and put something bordering on a moratorium on playing out, as the decidedly new-look, new-feel band figured out which way its sound was to go. The duo-turned-four-piece wrote and quickly cast off material and was selective about its sound. Finally, after 40 months, Paper Holland will have something to show for its struggles.
Fast Food is a cohesive quintet of light, summery, and primary upbeat numbers. “Liz Lemon” kicks the EP off with bouncy instrumental backing flanking the famed “I want to go to there” pining of the song’s eponymous, Tina Fey-portrayed 30 Rock protagonist before the billowing brass of Soul Low sax man Sean Hirthe brings the opening track home. The horns remain (this time the trumpet of Jamie Breiwick), to be joined by string arrangements and sharp guitar noodling in “Badame Bueno,” an airy and quasi-island-like track that’s akin to a short-form Vampire Weekend rendering (“Holton Hall” is also in the same neighborhood). By the time those songs and Jurassic Park-referencing “Brooklyn Bodega”—a slow and somber arrangement that highlights Joe Tomcheck’s vocal chops and lyrical depth—give way to “Jazzy Jeff” and its falsetto onomatopoetics, Paper Holland has made a strong and satisfying second impression in under 15 minutes’ time.
Like the EP’s consumable namesake, Fast Food is a quick and pleasing holdover. Let’s hope it’s not another three years before Paper Holland serves up another order of songs. Paper Holland will put out its latest EP Saturday night at Company Brewing in a show that features Ugly Brothers and also doubles as Antler House’s record release. Before that show, listen to Fast Food in its entirety, only at Milwaukee Record.