“This record documents the last three years of my life” says PAWS’ Philip Taylor of ‘Your Church My Bonfire’ - an emotionally bare and open record unlike anything the Glaswegian trio have done before.
On opening ballad ‘What We Want’, Philip channels R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe with hushed, earnest vocals referring to a fractured father-son relationship - “And I love my father, though not often said”. There’s a pained honesty on the brooding, cello-laden ‘Arachnids’, as he sings “It’s not the game I’d like to play, but I am an addict all the same”. A more light-hearted quip on ‘Honoured To Be Honest’, though, is the album’s stand-out lyric. The song opens: “Drinking my beer on this train and it tastes like shit.”
Special mention must go to the 12-minute album closer ‘Not Goodbye (See You Later)’, a downtempo head-banger chock-a-block with guitar solos, laid back drum grooves and spoken word passages that are coloured by Philip’s soft Scottish accent. It sums up the more astute, post-rock style instrumental side of the band that’s present throughout.
Despite its formula of guitar-bass-drums, ‘Your Church My Bonfire’ packs in a lot of expression through tight melodies - and the emotional depth is amplified by Philip Taylor’s refined vocal performance. It’s not an album that pushes any boundaries by any means, but it’s a commendable expression by some passionate alt-rockers.