Nashvilles Paper Route thread 80s synth pop, disco beats and emo-reminiscent vocal melodies into a seamless, hook-filled sound. Where the bands production polish might have come off as crassly commercial even three years ago, anyone who aims for radio play so determinedly seems strangely romantic and even admirable these days. Ditto the bands use of dense, sweeping keyboards to foster a sense of drama in the music. Nonetheless, even to those with a high tolerance for corporate pop, Paper Route clearly represents a product: sound crafted specifically to make a non-threatening impact, not to mention sell itself. Thankfully, the bands lack of pretense offsets the hard sell, and those hooks do sound pleasantly eerie as we all wonder how much hit-making potential record companies have anymore.
Sat., May 2, 9 p.m., 2009