Review: After Laughter by Paramore

After Laughter by ParamoreFirst things first: Hayley Williams can sell the hell out of anything. No matter how in flux the Paramore line-up is, as long as she’s there, you can be sure she’ll do a good job. Their last album, released in 2013, had its moments despite the Farro brothers leaving – in fact, its best moments are when they let their hair down and have fun. The same is the case with After Laughter, but with a more obvious shift in sound: gone is the pop-punk they’ve made their name with, replaced with a clear new wave sheen, following the tactic of “more indie” bands like Two Door Cinema Club. The band also saw more changes in their line-up – they’re still a three-piece, but Zac Farro returned on drumming duties – so it’s another chance to reassess their sound and have fun with it. Clearly, they do. “Hard Times” may cause whiplash with its colorful sound, but they sell it – Hayley sells it – and succeed. Yes, the whole album being about, well, hard times may be too easy a theme considering how almost everything feels sunny. The theme gets too heavy too – it clearly wears them down by the middle of the album, and it sinks into old times, but with more gloom and less bang. But, man, Hayley Williams can sell the hell out of anything. If she goes, it’s a different story altogether. [NB]3/5

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