Anchored by lead singer and songwriter Rain Phoenix and flanked by her revolving cast of collaborators, papercranes will release their second album on January 24th via Manimal Vinyl (Bat For Lashes, Warpaint, Juliette Commagere). Titled Let’s Make Babies in the Woods, the record is a mesmerizing mix of gritty, psychedelia-tinged folk, propulsive rhythms, and orchestral expansiveness. The soul of each song is formed by Phoenix’s voice, which drips with emotion and is equally comfortable as an airy whisper or a shiver-inducing, raspy wail.
In its current incarnation, Phoenix is joined by Kirk Hellie (Pink Noise Test, Meow Meow), Norm Block (Plexi, Sweet Head), Todd Dhalhoff (Dead Trees, The Moor), Jenny O. (Jenny O.), Matt Cooker (Hollywood Bowl Orchestra), and Ameena Khawaja. The album features Andy Lord (For Squirrels, Subrosa), Michael Amish (Subrosa), Myles Matheny (Violens, Hospitals on the Moon), Dave Lebleu (The Mercury Program), Norm Block, and long time papercranes collaborator Robb Buono. Guest spots include friends like Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (bass/trumpet) and Dermot Mulroney (cello).
Let’s Make Babies bursts with a raw and spontaneous energy thanks to the experimental, off-the-cuff approach Phoenix took in creating it. This method, which she describes as a stream-of-consciousness style, called for her and the other musicians do a lot of writing on the spot and frequently record ideas using just one take.
This process gave a brutally honest, naked feel to the songs, which are noticeably darker and angrier than previous papercranes material. Phoenix also has a remarkable fearlessness of pushing her voice to channel every last sentiment in her lyrics. This bold attitude, along with her gift for composing nuanced melodies, makes for a collection of songs filled with gorgeous, spine-tingling moments.