Y'know I'm genuinely thrilled to report that Paramore's new album brand new eyes is a resounding triumph for the Franklin five-piece. They have matured, and as much as I hate how much of a cop-out that word is when describing a band, there is no better way to describe them. Musically they are tighter and more comfortable experimenting with their sound (such as acoustic tinkering on a couple of tracks) and there are no superlatives grand enough to describe the powerhouse vocal performance of flame-haired vocalist Hayley Williams.
For a band in danger of being, according to themselves, the "Twilight house band", it is admirable that they have stuck to their guns and produced an album that rarely touches the angst of last year's "Decode" (although the song appears in "Bonus Track" form no doubt to please fans and record label bosses). Instead we get a propulsive mix of attitude-glazed pop-punk and quiet bittersweet melodies where the traditional whiney emo topics are subverted and the songs lyrically deal with being a stronger person and growing up.
Perhaps most importantly, brand new eyes is fun. It's both danceable and comforting. Paramore have hit the big time and in a scene currently devoid of heavyweights My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy, this is their time to grip the throne and never let go. They have every chance now.
For the iPod playlist: "Careful", "Turn It Off", "The Only Exception".
Verdict: **** (4/5)