Paramore – Paramore

When a band releases an eponymous album, they’re generally making a statement: “This is us,” it implies. “This is what we’re all about.” For Paramore, the self-declaration is timely, and inevitable. Having nearly been torn apart by the bitter departure of founding members Josh and Zac Farro in 2010, they have struggled to piece themselves back together.

So it’s not surprising that Paramore is built on defiance and determination – a gritty, hard rock ode to willpower. Hayley Williams’ lyrics are littered with big, anthemic statements. On ‘Now’ she screams, “There’s a time and a place to die/But this ain’t it”, above a whirlpool of guitar distortion. On the incongruously cute ‘Interlude: Moving On’, she flicks the haters away on a bouncing ukelele: “Well I could be angry but you’re not worth the fight.”

But under the fiery willpower, Paramore’s guts are still intact, and they deliver post-emo pop metal with a verve that’s unmatched. This isn’t Brand New Eyes though, and snippets of growth are evident – check the shifting groove and gospel choir harmonies on ‘Ain’t It Fun’, or even the subtle Nashville country twists on ‘Last Hope’ and ‘Grow Up’. Williams makes like a giddy teenager on the pop-fuelled ‘Still Into You’, and plays the desperate lover on the retro ’(One Of Those) Crazy Girls’.

At a stretched out 19 tracks though, it loses its edge with the meandering ‘Hate To See Your Heart Break’ and repeats earlier ideas on ‘Native Tongue’, but they rally themselves with the blazing closer ‘Escape Route’. Paramore are back, and if they have anything to do with it, here to stay.