Album of the Day: PAWS, “Your Church On My Bonfire”

On their newest release, Your Church On My Bonfire, Glasgow’s PAWS shed their frantic, power-chord driven enthusiasm for a restrained exploration into the human condition. The trio’s fourth LP finds frontman Phillip Taylor examining his life after spending several years battling setbacks—failed relationships, unstable band lineups, personal losses. Here, PAWS galvanize those blows into a reignited sound. Your Church On My Bonfire was produced by Frightened Rabbit guitarist Andy Monaghan, and it arrives on the heels of the one-year anniversary of the loss of Frightened Rabbit singer Scott Hutchison, whose influence is felt throughout the LP.

On the opening track “What We Want,” Taylor’s forthrightness about his father’s death becomes a plea for listeners to analyze their own unstable relationships and to look for the beauty, before it’s too late. Though the band has never shied away from emotional material, Taylor’s candid approach to the lyrics is especially captivating. His bluntness about his father’s passing is piercing: “He was here, and now he’s gone.” While PAWS have dialed-down some of their well-known intensity, songs like the album’s standout track “Honoured To Be Honest” build up to the liveliness of their earlier material. With Your Church On My Bonfire, PAWS have transcended any expectations based on their first three LPs, leaving us with a project that is arguably their best yet.

-Jerry Cowgill

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