Paper Round Kid is the moniker of one Darren Filkins, a UK singer/songwriter who’s easily compared to an upbeat Bob Dylan, Devendra Banhart or Neil Young but with a late ‘70s key party vibe. Well, hello, Mrs. Robinson! The debut album, Submarine will be available from Chocolate Lab Records via iTunes, Amazon, etc. on October 8.
Filkins, who is the Paper Round Kid, made his musical debut with Damon Albarn’s pre-Blur outfit, Seymore in the late ‘80s. On Submarine he’s joined by Reid Savage (guitarist/producer) and Greg Mason (keyboards/engineer). Savage, ex-husband to Carol King‘s daughter Louise Goffen, once jammed with Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood. Mason played in an early incarnation of Adam & the Ants. With Filkins they have worked for the last 18 months from Mason’s Camden studio in London creating Submarine.
This is Filkins’ foray back into rock and roll after a very successful career as a photographer. His photo resume includes Lenny Kravitz, Wilco, John Lydon and Usher.
Submarine opens with the Cat Stevens-ish “U R the 1” complete with finger-picked guitars, mellow key swells, harmonica and banjo, setting the mood for what’s to come. “Not Right Now” continues the mood, but suggests the earthy music of Nick Drake and the vocals of Van Morrison while “Sweet Time” induces fleeting memories of Crosby, Stills and Nash’s “Dark Star.” That’s where things start to get funky.
“Don’t You Want a Girl?” keeps things on the upswing with female backing vocals and plenty to interest fans of Yes. PRK released a video for the song earlier this year and features the three blokes in drag. Disturbing? A little. But totally worth it.
Like any all night party, things start to mellow out with the ballad, “Love Ya.” Filkins and crew slow it way down, insinuating sheets are about to get disheveled. Closing the album is the lullaby, “Sandman (40&B).” Submarine might be over, but like a sporting lady, there’s always round two – but it’ll cost ya.