Since 2012’s ‘Cokefloat’, Paws have been an archetype hooky, fuzzy guitar band. ‘No Grace’, however, takes a subtly different turn that at certain moments verges on pop-punk (a version of the chicken/egg question raised by the fact it was produced by blink-182’s Mark Hoppus). This album often sees them polishing that initial fuzz on a lot of their songs, with riffs that shimmer in turquoise and lilac.
One unfortunate consequence of this is a loss of Scottish charm - Phillip Taylor’s vocal has shifted. One of PAWS’ big draws is the fact that they sing in their own accents and have their own voice. The vocal on ‘No Grace’ already exists, and while they’re not here to change the world, at times they stop kicking up dust.
At its best, when it doesn’t take itself too seriously, ‘No Grace’ is a perfectly fun album. ‘Clarity’ is an all-thrills ride, and the opening riff of ‘Asthmatic’ is gorgeous when listened to in isolation. As an experiment, ‘No Grace’ could go further. But PAWS continue to have fuzz defining their every step.