A maturing sound for Paramore

April 26, 2007|By Rashod D. Ollison | Rashod D. Ollison,Sun Pop Music Critic

On their 2005 debut, All We Know Is Falling, the musician friends of Paramore just wanted to have fun.

"We wanted to tour and hope people would latch on to the music," says lead guitarist Josh Farro, the available spokesman for the teen emo-pop band.

The Tennessee quartet -- fronted by charismatic lead vocalist-songwriter Hayley Williams and featuring Farro's brother Zac on drums and Jeremy Davis on bass -- generated a fair amount of buzz on the Vans Warped Tour in the past two years.

The band, which plays Recher Theatre in Towson tomorrow night and the 9:30 Club in D.C. on Saturday, continues to build momentum for the June 12 release of its sophomore album, RIOT! But this time out, the music isn't all about being young and having fun.

"We went with the title RIOT! because the definition we found was a controlled outburst of emotion," Farro says. "And we felt that went along with Hayley's lyrical format. Her lyrics are very honest about everyday relationships. They're deeper than what was on the first album."

All We Know Is Falling boasted infectious, neon-colored bits of radio candy such as "Pressure" and "Emergency." The band's catchy, if predictable, approach (think Avril Lavigne tossed with a little Fall Out Boy) garnered the group a strong, mostly teen following. And although all of the members are still teens themselves, Farro says the band is eager to present a more mature, polished sound on RIOT!

"Our playing is better," says the musician, who last week was playing a date with the band in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "Our producer, David Bendeth [perhaps best known for his work with the Los Angeles rock band Ima Robot], pushed us and captured our sound. I think our growth really shows. It was totally new when we first started. We were just babies learning to walk."

Paramore came together in Franklin, Tenn., in 2004. Williams, a 13-year-old aspiring singer whose family had recently moved to the Nashville suburb from Meridian, Miss., hooked up with the Farro brothers, who were forming a band at the time. Soon afterward, Davis joined. They honed their skills in school talent shows and in local clubs.

Eventually, the band caught the attention of the Fueled by Ramen label and was signed in April 2005. On All We Know Is Falling, Paramore worked with James Wisner and Mike Green, best known for productions with Dashboard Confessional and Yellowcard, respectively. The CD hit stores in July of that year.

"On that first tour, we did shows where five people showed up, then 50, then 100," Farro says. "But I'm glad we went that route, playing the smaller clubs. It humbled us to travel around in a 12-passenger van, and we'll remember that forever, whether we remain a band or not."

Farro says the personal and musical growth on the road can be heard throughout the new album, which is currently being mixed and mastered in the studio.

"There was more time to do this album than the last one," he says. "There's a lot more passion. The last one, we're proud of it. But we got a chance to say more on RIOT! We just hope the fans and even more will come on the ride."

See Paramore at the Recher Theatre, 512 York Road in Towson, tomorrow night at 7. Tickets are $15 and are available at Ticketmaster at 410-547-SEAT or ticketmaster.com. The group also plays a 5 p.m. show Saturday at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. N.W., Washington. Tickets are $15 at tickets.com.

To hear clips of Paramore's music, go to baltimoresun.com/listeningpost.


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