Paper Buoys – Time Won’t Wait

Britain, it seems, has very much returned to the political and class turmoil that engulfed it in the Thatcher led 80’s. We’ve got fighting in the streets, a rise in populism and the Far Right, and society is becoming ever more tribal. It’s no surprise then that musically we seem to be seeing a resurgence of the alternative sounds that permeated that era. We’re still dealing with the same issues. The kids, it seems, are still just as angry.

Thus we have ‘Time Won’t Wait’, the new single from Paper Buoys. It’s a big slice of 2 Tone style; all off beat guitar and with a huge slab of a bass line to propel it forward. It could be coming out fresh this week or be a lost treasure from 1981.

There’s a menace to it, that also infects the best tunes from The Specials and the other 2 Tone groups. A sense of anger and frustration. The message is clear from the title: act now, because life is short, and time really won’t wait.

The verses are all harsh consonants and sloganeering, demanding we aim high for the sky, before a nice twist of dynamic in a softer delivery on the chorus. The sneer becomes more of a plea, it’s a nice switch, and in fact the song ends on a soft note, just delay drenched guitar and vocal. It shows some good song craft, letting the message hit home without bludgeoning it into you. It’s not surprising these guys took home Best Album at the BMA’s last year.

With the death of Rankin Roger this year, it’s just great to hear that sound still hitting the streets of Birmingham, and the torch passed on.

Catch them on home turf this Friday at The Actress and Bishop.

Owen Huws