Paper Sun guaranteed to light up your life

You might have heard of Shaimus. They’re a quintet formed at the Berkley College of Music in Boston—but based in Los Angeles, California. You may have even heard one of their songs. This really depends on whether you, like me, have played the original Guitar Hero. “All of This” by Shaimus is a bonus track in the game. (We’re at RPI, so I’m going to assume you have played Guitar Hero and have at least heard this song once or twice. If you haven’t, what are you doing here, exactly? Get on it.)

Since you’ve listened to “All of This” before, you should have a good idea of what Shaimus is like, right? No, not at all; you’ve experienced merely a fraction of what Shaimus is all about and what their 2006 album, Paper Sun, can offer.

“All of This” is indeed a wonderful song. It is an incredibly catchy sing-a-long song with a fun guitar solo to boot. If you’re expecting nine or 10 tracks similar in style and direction, you will be disappointed. Paper Sun offers its audience soulful tracks with meaningful lyrics and mellow tones, not to mention an album produced and mixed so well that it’s hard to believe that parts of the album were recorded in a basement or produced and edited in a bedroom.

The opening track, “Left to Dry,” best exemplifies and highlights Shaimus’ talents. There is a lot of chemistry between the band members. The harmony between each instrument is fantastic. Often, in young bands, a particular instrument takes control of the song and monopolizes the entire track, but not so here. It starts off with the drummer setting the beat for the track. He is then joined by the pair of guitarists. The lead guitarist does not take control of the song; he compliments the drummer and rhythm guitarist. And then there is silence as the vocalist and keyboardist take over and the audience hears a soothing voice with a gentle piano progression. The other instruments return and join in with the vocalist and his keys to bring the song to completion.

Songs “Run My Spirit Down” and “Slow Down” continue the mellow tone set by “Left to Dry,” creating a soothing and languid atmosphere. The vocalist and his keys really shine in these tracks. The songs travel at a leisurely pace. “Run My Spirit Down” starts off with a mystical harmony that makes me want to fall asleep and just dream the day away. It is a sensational track that will make you want to play the song over and over again. It’s not all slow and easy-going; the stringed instruments pitch in to create a catchy rhythm and a little diversity in the track. “Slow Down” is a salient and aptly named track. The music walks slowly and aimlessly, almost as if it is listening to the lyrics.

“Red White and Blue” is yet another song with a fantastic harmony and exemplary lyrics and vocal performance. It is, however, unlike all the other songs, political in nature. I don’t know about you, but I like a good political song every now and then. An artist really has to dig deep inside, collect his beliefs and his soul before releasing it out on sheet music. I won’t delve into the lyrics, but even if you don’t agree with them, I’m pretty confident you will agree it’s a solid track.

Paper Sun is a wonderful album. Even if the music is not your style, you will appreciate the work these guys have put into the album. Vocalist and keyboardist Phil Beaudreau is absolutely fantastic and is complimented by the remaining four in the band. Guitarists Evan Brown and Dave Middleton balance each other out and absolutely never drown out bassist Johannes Raassina. Finally, drummer Cameron Brousseau not only keeps the band playing together, but blends in well. Never overwhelming; never underwhelming. Seriously, guys, pick this one up.