‘Les Paul’s’ (The Paul’s) are ex-Londoners – singer songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer and actor Paul Odiase and song lyricist Paul Robert Thomas. Les Paul’s have just released their 8th album called ‘A Mile Until Dawn’. The lyrics conjure up images that challenge the normal limpid way songsters try to describe emotions. The feelings expressed in the words challenge the listener to explore a better way to say how they personally would feel in the same circumstance. I like Paul Odiase’s voice and I think the music the ‘Les Paul’s’ (The Paul’s) write fits his style. Get the album and listen to it several times it will be worth your time and your emotions.
The amorphous, mutable qualities of the lyrics are matched by waves of orchestrated emotionalism and tight arrangements. But the most noticeable thing here is the distinct Bowie-esque influences, as the album abounds with 70s and 80s alternative and art rock flavors.
‘Les Paul’s’ (The Paul’s) find perhaps perfect a musical expression throughout this album in its realism and sense of inevitability, overpowering any tendencies toward the over-melodramatic, and is a powerful lesson in empathy. “A Thousand Eyes” looks at confusion, disillusionment and deceit in today’s world, while “Anne Franck” is representative of the millions of people who suffered and died as she did because of her beliefs.
But ‘Les Paul’s’ (The Paul’s) can also be humorous, as they are on “Don’t Kick Me When I’m Down”, or they can discuss and advocate safe sex on “No Use Crying Over Spilt Milk”, and then get really serious about child abuse on “You F-cked Me Up”.
In between they cover a basket full of diverse themes that move from spreading rumors to abandoned lovers and even death. However it’s not just the lyrics that make ‘A Mile Until Dawn’ such an emotional listen, but the manner of the delivery.
Raw and visceral with plenty of crunchy over-driven guitars and rocking soundscapes, there is conviction in every sung line as the words crackle around the edges like ancient paper. The album has the feel of someone looking at a sprawl of years, taking in a wide range of experiences and moments, and filtering them into a humid combination that feels lived-in and real.
The album shows us artists deep into their careers who are able to locate a well of inspiration in the world surrounding them. There is a sort of understated defiance here, an idea that through music and words you can leave a mark permanent enough that a world unaware of you as an individual would remember your plights when you’re gone.
The narratives contained in each song enrich the entire body of work, giving it a sense of weight and scope. It’s almost impossible to listen to something like this without considering the life-altering circumstances that yielded the message within each song – especially the two closing songs that deal with child abuse. ‘A Mile Until Dawn’ is a wrenching reminder that the experience of life’s intricacies is a shifty, multi-tentacled thing.