Last month, when New Zealand duo Paper Cranes unveiled their stunning new album Voices, we were immediately immersed in their delicate folk sounds.
So, fresh off the album’s release we caught up with bandmember Fraser Browne for a track-by-track run-down.
Fresh off the release of their new album Voices, we caught up with New Zealand duo Paper Cranes for a complete track-by-track run-down.
The album Voices as a whole looks at the negative and positive forces in our lives: how we’re masters of our destiny, but competing spaces and voices crowd our thoughts and sometimes blind us to what is important. Written when Paper Cranes were in the midst of moving house multiple times in a year, the album explores what it’s like to be settled in a state of flux, and also explores what is truth and what is spin in a time of ‘fake news’ and misinformation. And it has a load of good love songs, too.
This is a song we wrote when everything was changing – we’d moved houses for the fourth time, and we were in a new city, and things still felt really unsettled and uncertain. The song’s about a long-distance relationship; when you’re relationally close to someone but physically apart it can be a disturbing mix of comfort and insecurity. In essence, this is about someone convincing their love that change is good, and the realisation that you’ve been ready for a new life for a while. But the song can go further than just being a love song – it’s someone singing out their readiness for change in society.
I wrote the opening lines about being stuck in a moment of depression or anxiety and being unable to escape it. The song is a response to wondering what’s behind the feeling – and realising our humanity and fragility doesn’t matter, as we’re alive and we all have something to offer. It’s about being present in a moment in all of its good and bad rather than worrying about the past or future.
This is a summery song about young love that I wrote thinking about when I was living as a high schooler in Sweden. There are these very long summer nights in Sweden where it’s light till well after midnight and people just let loose while the weather is sunny. It’s about fresh starts, new love, and hope.
Heartbeat was the last song written for the album and it bookends a lot of the themes. The images in the song show that our trapped states are sometimes illusion, and freedom can be a state of mind, as moments always change and doors open to better things.
Stay is a simple love song about reflecting on how a positive relationship can keep you grounded. We wrote it as a folky song, and wanted it to have both a warm and jaunty feel to match the themes.
Sometimes following your intuition can be the right thing to do, even when logic demands a different answer. This song is about following the path that’s right for you even when others are questioning it.
This is the first song we wrote, around the time when we recorded The Road Home. It’s about the tussle within your mind against the things that make you feel low and those that free you from it. If people hear you’re depressed they’ll sometimes tell you that “it’s only in your mind”, but depression can obviously break people if they don’t reach out. Ghost Life is about ridding yourself of your ghosts, and recognising that well-intentioned advice can sometimes stop your progress.
This is about an argument taking place and being resolved between two loves who have mixed up differences but realise mutual admiration wins against them. It’s not really autobiographical – we were challenged to write something like this after hearing a similar duet. It’s a pretty intimate moment in the album and we love playing it live.
Communities can get really fragmented when people stop seeing their similarities with others, and seek difference instead of a common ground. Like the world’s endless wars, conflict – or even on a simple level like fighting on social media. This song ties all of humanity together in the simple things we all do – rather than focusing on how we are different, realising that most of us are seeking after love and acceptance make you feel better about people even if you’re not on the same wavelength.
This is almost a gospel-like song that follows a couple of stories about people who long for something new but feel like their voices aren’t really heard or they’re looked down on by others. These are the lies we tell ourselves and that others tell us. Voices talks about how important our thoughts and the words we say actually are, and that we can have a lasting impact for positive change if we use them well.
Voices is available now. Listen above.