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Music Picks

BC Indie Band, The Paper Cranes

'Might fold your paper heart into a crown.'

By Thom Wong 10 May 2007 | TheTyee.ca

Thom Wong regularly writes for The Tyee's Music Picks column. He wrote the 40 bLinks column for The Tyee, and writes the Thomas in Law School blog.

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British (Columbia) New Wave

I'm writing this Music Picks from New York, where I just had my picture taken with Win Butler while he was buying a hot dog. I may never come back to Vancouver, and if I do get on the plane next Tuesday my mind will still be here, drinking ridiculously good and expensive hot chocolate. Arcade Fire is bigger than Jesus right now, and with a stellar new album from Feist currently blowing up my iPod I'm inclined to just write about the two of them...but of course, if you don't know about Arcade Fire and Feist by now, you're probably not going to listen to them based on what I say.

You also might not listen to The Paper Cranes, but that would be a mistake of unimaginable proportions, sitting somewhere between trading Luongo for a bag of pucks and reading Ulysses but not Finnegan's Wake. Yeah -- I'm talking THAT huge, people. The Cranes, who hail from the Britishests of Columbias, first captured my heart and mind with the awe-inspiring "I'll Love You Till My Veins Explode," a song that references not only the Old Christian Empire, but Saint Sebastian as well:

Like St. Sebastian on a tree
I've got your arrows stuck in me
It hurts too much to pull them out
So I'll cut holes into my coat

Rhyming "out" with "coat" is the kind of little rebellion that keeps this quickly aging writer and soon-to-be copyright lacky (my new "day job") from getting old. That and handclaps...what, I didn't mention that through the entire song someone is keeping beat by clapping? 4/4 clapping, people! And then suddenly at the three-minute mark they change pace, switch it up on you, and its all folding paper cranes, tearing paper hearts in two, and love of such magnitude it blows capillaries. This is a song to fall in love to and then fall out of love and then, then when it seems all hope of love is lost, your still strangely teenage heart, soft and pliable and not yet bruised to cynicism, finds it can love one more time. Yes, they might just fold your paper heart into a crown.

My love for the band probably has something to do with the fact that lead singer Ryan McCullagh sings like a British New Wave throwback, which instead of being insanely irritating is winning and endearing. "Milkrun" continues the theme set in "Veins Explode"; Ryan is writing from his hospital bed, but he's not including a post name. I tell you, the boy's crazy! "Deus Ex Machinegun" will probably appeal to some, but for me it takes The Cure comparison a little too far in the wrong direction.

Apparently, the Cranes have an album either out or coming out, but their label's own website doesn't carry it, so good luck hunting a copy down. Until you find one, you can listen to four of their tracks on the CBC Radio 3 website.

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