"A lot definitely got dropped, but to me, what you'd drop is part of what you keep, if that makes sense," he says. "It's always moving toward something." Papercuts songs are short stories and, contrary to what Quever calls most music critics' impression of him, they're not all autobiographical. He says he's not, in fact, incredibly depressed all the time. (To be fair: Part of the oft-repeated Papercuts bio is that Quever started writing music after his parents both died when he was a teenager; there's more than a little real trauma behind his trauma-swollen lyrics.)
On the other hand, "I'm pretty normal," he says. "This is my outlet for all the negativity. That's what catharsis is, right? You throw all your crap into this song and it feels good; I think that's kind of a tennis match that's in everyone's head." On this record, that catharsis is most interesting when playing with contrasts: On "Family Portrait," things turn downright upbeat, with Quever gauzily channeling The Byrds (or maybe Ray Davies on Vicodin) through jangly guitar, while his lyrics still speak, poetically, of a vague fear, solitude, and uncertainty — tinged with hope, to be sure. The chemistry is born of the balance.
"I never want it to be all heavy or all light," he says. "I think you naturally go through phases in writing, and that's fine. The main thing with taking longer to make this record was I wanted songs where I felt proud of the lyrics.
"That way you're not up there, you know, mumbling certain parts 'cause you feel dumb."
With Fool's Gold, Line & Circle
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