by Fraser McCallum
You might not know it but Paper Lions are one of the busiest and most thriving bands on PEI right now and their success stands toe-to-toe with that of some of the best names in the Island’s music history.
The Charlottetown pop-rock group, known formerly as The Chucky Danger Band, consists of brothers John and Rob MacPhee (lead vocals and bass guitar, respectively), lead guitarist Colin Buchanan, and drummer Dave MacDonald.
The foursome has been together since 2005 selling over 12,000 records in that time, winning numerous awards, and playing across the continent with acts like Cake, Joel Plaskett, and The Golden Dogs. With all of these bragging rights to their name, Paper Lions are most proud of their October 2010 release, Trophies, a six-song album they are busy touring across this vast country.
Following several intense months of writing, demoing and rewriting Paper Lions (all originally from Belfast, PEI) knew they wanted to record an album bursting with big energy and quick dynamic changes. “We really wanted to work with someone who could capture our live sound,” says front man, John. “We found that with an independent producer, Dan Weston (Blackbox Music), and in seven quick days up in Hamilton, recording live off the floor, we had some of our best material to date.”
The new album is a quick one, clocking it at less than twenty minutes but is undeniably tight, hitting you on first listen with catchy hooks, blistering guitar work and short, punchy songs that stick in your head for hours. “It feels great to finally reveal what we’ve been up to for the last year and a half,” writes Buchanan, from the road.
At press time the Lions were halfway through their coast-to-coast, Trophies tour. “This tour has been incredible for us,” says Buchanan. “The musical pairing between us, Library Voices (Regina), and Bend Sinister (Vancouver) is like a match made in heaven. It’s a nice chance to have so many other people on the road with us. It makes for so many more personalities to bounce off.”
After five years of serious gigging, recording and traveling back and forth, the band approaches touring differently these days. “I think when I was touring the country at 18 or so I never really had time to process what was going on,” Buchanan reflects. “Now we take a lot more responsibility for where we want the band to go and are more strategic with the gigs we are taking and the bands we are playing with.”
Once their Canadian tour wraps, the lads will enjoy some time off; however, they plan on digging into to several new songs before more touring this winter.
With their new album making national waves, a distribution deal through EMI, and a video for single “We Lost the War” charting on Itunes and Muchmusic, it would appear PEI’s Paper Lions are back in a big way.