Paper Holland takes its sweet time. After releasing its debut album, Happy Belated, back in 2012, the band had a four-year break between records before eventually treating listeners to their Fast Food EP in early 2016. Though the five-song release broke nearly an entire Presidential term’s worth of silence and found the band getting back to playing out regularly, Paper Holland needed a few more years to put together another full-length. On June 1, more than two years since serving up Fast Food, the meticulous musicians will finally wisp listeners away on an aural island getaway in the form of their long-awaited sophomore album, Galápagos.
Named after a Pacific island chain, the album’s beach vibes are evident from the get-go, as chirping birds and the sound of lapping waves help kick off “Arrival,” an aptly-named instrumental opener that sets Galápagos‘ getaway theme. The waves, birds, and overriding escapist motif continue into second song, “Sea [Sic],” in which singer Joe Tomcheck’s casually-delivered lyrics about “waves to pull you down, to pull you in, to pull you under” join an equally-relaxed arrangement of guitars, percussion, keys, and horns.
Warm and breezy songs like “Think,” the harmonious and horn-laden “Milpool,” and ’80s-nodding single “Don’t Go Now” tote elements of tropical pop (or “trop-pop”) with smooth vocals, light instrumentation, and a prevailing aura befitting of the record’s archipelago namesake. However, the band makes sure to remind listeners of two harsh realities: all vacations must eventually end and you can’t escape reality forever. The hooks, horns, and lines about getting away from it all are countered by songs with oceanic depth. “You’re Not There” and “Silver Lines”—one of the two standout songs in which guitarist Andy Kosanke sings lead—are like a windy beach at night, as they reference both societal stress and personal strife amid pleasant surroundings. Meanwhile, “Darwinian Age” serves to both acknowledge evolutionary studies and illustrate the band’s evolution in the six-year span between full-lengths. It may take Paper Holland a while to write new material, but Galápagos is worth the wait.
Paper Holland will release Galápagos on Friday, June 1. Before the record’s release date and the band’s show at Anodyne’s Walker’s Point Roastery (with Jaill, Klassik, and Marc Waldoch) that same night, you can listen to the album in its entirety now.