Introducing: Paladin

Posted: November 14, 2011 in Album reviews, Introducing
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Many bands can trace their inception back to their Dad’s garage. Leicester four-piece Paladin go one better – conjoined twin garden sheds: site of Paladin jamming studios and the band’s birthplace back in 2010.

Armed with a fleet of their self-styled ‘big beat’ songs, it’s not hard to see why Paladin’s premier gained airtime on regional radio stations. Their debut 11-song demo is hotter property than a burning building and surely posits them knocking on new doors of record labels.

So, what does Paladin mean? “I heard it somewhere, it’s a cool word and it stuck” Foo Fighter-inspired guitarist Joe Foxon tells me at Paladin HQ, his house. And why not? A similar philosophy worked for fellow Leicester band Kasabian who in a striking parallel attended the same high school; now look at them.

Determined to source the word’s origins I delve deeper with a quick flick on Wikipedia disambiguation. Apparently a Paladin is a character class in certain role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons. The Leicester quartet have yet to produce a video so one cannot comment with regards to role-play, but as character classes go these are four talented young musicians.

Estranged vocalist James ‘Baresi’ Shaw has a wonderfully resonant voice, rivalling the Reverend Jon McClure for his huskiness and depth. “This will be the end, just a last chance saloon” he croons on the infectious Exit.

Scintillating overdrive is a feature of the Paladin power-dins Show Me The World, Drowning and Walk Away. All are adventurous in their own right, backed by Foxon’s invigorating chainsaw solos. Hit The Road meanwhile is a classic Foo-Nickelback-influenced concoction.

Paladin from left to right: Bassist Matt Jones, former singer James 'Baresi' Shaw, guitarist Joe Foxon & drummer Craig Shaw.

In Paladin’s guitar rock I also hear Feeder rhythms, sparks of Ash and even echoes of The Coral on the Ballad of Boris which sees cocksure drummer Craig Shaw explore his lyrical abilities with intriguing results.

Focus is the real catch of the demo disc. Matt ‘Larry’ Jones’ walking bassline is an instant hook, luring the listener like a moth to a flame. “I’m your target, I’m your man” Baresi announces with aplomb.

Exit this disc early at your peril. Mixed by Foxon and Shaw on a “boring” afternoon, album closer Drowning (remix) is a funky remastered version brimming with Late of the Pier’s electroclash dance sounds and synthesised drum beats.

Another Wiki excerpt says that ‘according to a literary circle known as the Matter of France, Paladins were King Charlemagne’s foremost warriors’. Despite an Italian-style falling out with Don ‘Baresi’, Paladin can consider themselves the Matter of Leicester with this impressive debut.

Exit, Hit The Road and Walk Away suggest that the Cosby boys are heading somewhere. Are you going to follow?

Paladin are looking for a new vocalist: male or female. The average age of the band members is 21.

Find Paladin on myspace at:

Download: Focus, Hit The Road, Exit, Drowning (remix). Just listen to the whole demo.

Thanks to The Monograph for publishing this review 🙂

  1. I’m checking out their Myspace… these guys are awesome! Is there a legal way to get your hands on the demo??

  2. thereviewer says:

    Excellent, thanks for your interest, the guys will be ecstatic. And good question! Hmm, the Paladin chaps produced the album themselves, they have no label (yet) and it’s only been distributed in person, barely 80 copies. No iTunes yet my friend.

    If they hear of a fan in America I’m pretty sure they will sort something, postage-wise for you or even Facebook. Alternatively I could attempt to send you song files via email, quite a lengthy process.

    PS – I was reading your article on Fun Fun Fun Fest… Looks like it was a ball, some great acts. I have been meaning to comment and listen to Lykke Li but unfortunately video player, YouTube and EVEN Myspace have bust on my PC so I have been unable to as yet. I know nothing of Lykke currently though her mysterious, witch-like image is appealing and the 20 second intro I have heard was a big lure! I’ll be back.

    • Oh yeah, I keep forgetting you’re all the way across the pond… I’ll try them on Facebook. I don’t know if you’ve heard Mando Diao, but Paladin’s vocalist sounds a lot like one of Mando Diao’s…

      Yeah, FFFFest was great, just make sure you bring a bandana with you if you ever go. I’ve done a big turnaround with Lykke Li… I really couldn’t stand her debut aside from one or two songs, but “Wounded Rhymes” is easily my favorite album of the year. The album is largely about love, but she touches on so many different styles of music (including ’50s girl-group pop – which I can’t get enough of – in “Sadness Is A Blessing”). There isn’t a single song on there I don’t like. Also check out “Paris Blue” if you get a chance – I think it was the B-side to “Get Some”. I have no idea why it didn’t make the album…

      • thereviewer says:

        The Atlantic pond! Mando Diao doesn’t ring a bell, surname sounds African? It’s actually Baresi the vocalist who abandoned ship, bit of a falling out, real shame. He does have an excellent voice, American-sounding I think.

        I’ll give all these artists and songs a listen asap. Videos still won’t load so I’ve not had a chance. Any suggestions for a cure, QuickTime player?

        Why the bandana for FFFFest… how about a turban? I’m not a Sikh, I’m just postulating!

        • Mando Diao are… Swedish, I think? I could go look it up, but the mystery is always more fun. 😀

          That’s too bad their vocalist left, I saw they’re looking for a new one. I messaged them on Facebook, haven’t heard a reply…

          Hm, I don’t use Quicktime, so I’m not sure. My limited computer knowledge would tell me to uninstall and redownload; past that, I’d be dead in the water.

          The dust was ridiculous at FFFFest. Half the people there were wearing bandanas, not on their heads, but bandit-style. (I was confused by the turbine comment for a second, haha…)

          • thereviewer says:

            Ah, Ethan… a spot of research tells me Mando Diao are in fact a Swedish alt-rock outfit as you say. Apparently a burgeoning fanbase in Japan, with a growing following here in the UK. I still need to give them a listen. To add to Lykke Li, it seems like there is a bit of a stirring Scandinavian scene going on at the moment. I read an article about an act called Ice Age who are supposedly tearing it up right now. A bit harsher punk I think, I found it hard to access. They were Danish I believe.

            Remember The Cardigans? Wow, they made the 90s fun.

            The Paladin boys are still searching for that elusive vocalist, and need to resume their jamming routine.

  3. rockmelody says:

    Very-very nice indeed! There’s something mysterious in their sound. They are really good!

    • thereviewer says:

      Cheers, I will pass on all these good words to the band themselves, I’m just an associate! What do you think about their name – Paladin? Unusual it has to be said, almost part of an 80’s trend I think. The word sounds silvery and shiny to me, no idea why.

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